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Shooting of teacher by six-year-old a red flag for US, says mayor | Virginia

The taking pictures of a teacher within the metropolis of Newport News in Virginia by a six-year-old pupil must be a red flag for the US, town’s mayor has stated, because the teacher’s situation confirmed indicators of enchancment.

The mayor, Phillip Jones, stated the situation of the teacher, identified by local media as Abby Zwerner, was “trending in a positive direction” in hospital.

The pupil, a boy, was taken into police custody after taking pictures and wounding the teacher with a handgun in a first-grade classroom on Friday at Richneck elementary faculty. The Newport News police chief, Steve Drew, stated the taking pictures was not unintended and was half of an altercation. No college students have been injured.

Police on Saturday declined to explain what led to the altercation or every other particulars about what occurred within the classroom, citing the persevering with investigation. Jones additionally declined to disclose particulars of the taking pictures, or say how the boy obtained entry to the gun or who owns the weapon.

Abby Zwerner
The teacher was recognized by native media as Abby Zwerner. Photograph: Abby Zwerner

“This is a red flag for the country,” Jones stated. “I do think that after this event, there is going to be a nationwide discussion on how these sorts of things can be prevented.”

George Parker, the superintendent of the Newport News public faculty district, stated the taking pictures confirmed how “we need to educate our children and we need to keep them safe”.

He added: “We need the community’s support, continued support, to make sure that guns are not available to youth and I’m sounding like a broken record today, because I continue to reiterate that: that we need to keep the guns out of the hands of our young people.

“I cannot control access to weapons. My teachers cannot control access to weapons … Our students got a lesson in gun violence and what guns can do to disrupt not only an educational environment, but also a family, a community.”

Jones wouldn’t say the place the boy was being held. “We are ensuring he has all the services that he currently needs right now,” he stated.

Experts who examine gun violence stated the taking pictures represented a particularly uncommon prevalence of a younger youngster bringing a gun into faculty and wounding a teacher.

“It’s very rare and it’s not something the legal system is really designed or positioned to deal with,” stated the researcher David Riedman, the founder of a database that tracks US faculty shootings, relationship again to 1970.

He stated he was solely conscious of three different shootings precipitated by six-year-old college students within the time interval he had studied. Those embrace the deadly taking pictures of a fellow pupil in 2000 in Michigan and shootings that injured different college students in 2011 in Texas and 2021 in Mississippi.

Riedman stated he solely knew of one different occasion of a pupil youthful than that inflicting gunfire at a faculty, by which a five-year-old pupil introduced a gun to a Tennessee faculty in 2013 and unintentionally discharged it. No one was injured in that case.

Daniel W Webster, a professor at Johns Hopkins University who research gun violence, agreed that a six-year-old taking pictures a teacher at college was extraordinarily uncommon. But he stated his analysis confirmed that situations of younger kids accessing loaded weapons and taking pictures themselves or others unintentionally in houses or different settings have been rising.

“A six-year-old gaining access to a loaded gun and shooting him or herself or someone else, sadly, is not so rare,” he stated in an electronic mail to Associated Press.

Investigators have been making an attempt to determine the place he obtained the handgun.

Newport News is a metropolis of about 185,000 individuals in south-eastern Virginia. It is understood for its shipyard, which builds the nation’s plane carriers and different US Navy vessels.

Richneck has about 550 college students who’re in kindergarten by way of to fifth grade, in keeping with the Virginia Department of Education’s web site. Jones stated there could be no lessons on the faculty on Monday and Tuesday.

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