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Abigail Zwerner gives first interview about shooting at Richneck Elementary



The Virginia teacher shot by a 6-year-old student in January said she is “doing okay” but her recovery has been “challenging” in her first interview since the incident, excerpts of which were aired Monday night. She plans to file a lawsuit over the shooting in a couple of weeks.

Abigail Zwerner, 25, told Savannah Guthrie in clips from the “Today Show” that were shown on NBC Nightly News that she does not have full use of her left hand, which was hit by a bullet, and that she has been through four surgeries. The full interview will air Tuesday morning.

“Some days are not so good days where I can’t get up out of bed,” Zwerner said. “Some days are better than others where I can get out of bed and make it to my appointments. From going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive. I try to have a positive outlook on what’s happened and where my future’s heading.”

A prosecutor is weighing whether to file charges in the shooting that unfolded at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Jan. 6. Police finished their investigation in late February.

The shooting unfolded as classes wound down for the day. Zwerner was teaching a lesson when the boy pulled out the gun and fired a shot at her, striking her in the hand and chest, police said.

At a news conference after the shooting, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew hailed Zwerner as a hero, saying she helped shepherd her students to safety and was the last one to leave the classroom.


Zwerner was rushed to a hospital in life-threatening condition, while a school employee restrained the boy until officers arrived on the scene, police said.

Zwerner’s attorney said in court documents that officials ignored multiple warnings that the boy had a gun on the day of the shooting. A spokeswoman for Newport News schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

How Richneck Elementary failed to stop a 6-year-old from shooting his teacher

The shooting generated a firestorm of controversy in Newport News, where some parents and teachers blamed the local school district for failing to address issues of violence in the city’s schools. The Newport News School Board ousted its superintendent in the wake of the shooting, and Richneck’s vice principal resigned.

Former Va. principal unaware that 6-year-old had gun, attorney says

Legal experts said it is unlikely the boy will face criminal charges, because Virginia law presumes a child under 7 cannot form the intent to carry out a crime. It’s possible the boy’s mother could face charges for failing to properly secure the weapon or child neglect.

James Ellenson, an attorney for the boy’s family, said previously that the gun was safely stored on a top shelf in the mother’s closet with a trigger lock, but said it was unclear how the boy got ahold of the gun. Police have declined to comment on that characterization.


Ellenson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

The family has expressed regret for the shooting in a statement.

Source: Washington Post


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