Six-year-old Virginia School Boy’s Backpack Searched Before Shooting  His Teacher 


Administrators at the Virginia school where a six-year-old boy shot his teacher learned the child may have had a weapon before the shooting but did not find the 9mm handgun despite searching his bag, the school system’s superintendent said.

Associated Press reports that the teacher, Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot in the chest, suffering injuries that were initially considered to be life-threatening. Her condition has improved and she has been reported in stable condition.

On Friday, a week after the shooting, police said they were not told about the tip before the shooting occurred.

Kelly King, a spokesperson for the Newport News police department, said that some time after the shooting, police learned through their investigation that a school employee was notified of a possible gun at Richneck elementary school before the shooting, which happened on 6 January.

Michelle Price, a spokesperson for the Newport News school district, declined to comment on the police statement.

She said that typically, when school officials receive a tip about a potential weapon or other contraband in schools, if the tip includes specific information about a particular student or a particular classroom, “That’s where the search starts”.

Price added: “I’m not able to comment on whether other searches may have occurred, except for the fact that the superintendent has shared that the student’s backpack was searched and nothing was found at the time.”

The superintendent, George Parker, said in an online meeting with parents on Thursday that at least one school administrator was notified the boy might have had a weapon before the six-year-old shot the teacher.

Parker’s comments were first reported by WAVY-TV. The online meeting was for parents only but WAVY-TV gained access from a parent. On Friday, Price confirmed the superintendent’s comments.

The police chief, Steve Drew, has said the boy brought the gun to school in his backpack. Price said she had not been told where school officials believe the gun was when the boy’s backpack was searched.

“That probably is definitely part of our internal investigation and the police investigation, but nothing about that has been released publicly,” Price said.

She declined to comment when asked who reported that the boy might have a weapon and whether school officials should have taken additional steps after the weapon was not found in his backpack.

On Thursday, the Newport News school board chair, Lisa Surles-Law, said the district would install metal detectors at all schools, starting with Richneck.


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