Family Lawyer Says Gun Used By Child Who Shot Teacher Was 'Secured'

By Bill Galluccio

January 19, 2023

6-Year-Old Boy Shoots His Teacher At Richneck Elementary School In Newport News, Virginia
Photo: Getty Images

James S. Ellenson, the attorney representing the family of a six-year-old boy accused of shooting his teacher, Abigail Zwerner, released a statement saying that the firearm was legally purchased by his mother and was "secured" in their home.

"Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children," the statement said. "The firearm our son accessed was secured."

The statement did not provide details about how the gun was stored, and investigators have not said how the boy managed to take possession of the weapon and bring it to school.

Investigators are also trying to determine how the boy managed to keep the gun hidden during the school day. School officials said that staff members were told the young boy had a gun and even searched his bag but did not find the 9mm handgun.

The family explained that their son "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day."

The family explained that they did not attend school with their son in the week leading up to the shooting.

"We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives."

The young boy remains "in the custody of the Newport News Department of Human Services." His family said that he is in the hospital and receiving treatment.

"We thank our son's medical treatment team as well as our family, friends, and all others who have offered support during this difficult time," the statement continued.

The family also offered their prayers for Zwerner, who is still recovering from the gunshot wound.

"We continue to pray for his teacher's full recovery and for her loved ones who are undoubtedly upset and concerned," the family said. "At the same time, we love our son and are asking that you please include him and our family in your prayers."

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