School official knew first grader had a gun

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - JANUARY 07: A school sign wishing students a "Happy New Year" is seen outside Richneck Elementary School on January 7, 2023 in Newport News, Virginia. A 6-year-old student was taken into custody after reportedly shooting a teacher during an altercation in a classroom at Richneck Elementary School on Friday. The teacher, a woman in her 30s, suffered “life-threatening” injuries and remains in critical condition, according to police reports. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
A 6-year-old student was taken into custody after reportedly shooting a teacher during an altercation in a classroom at Richneck Elementary School on Friday. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 12:19 PM PT – Friday, January 13, 2023

Administrators at the Virginia school, where a first grader had shot his teacher on January 6th, knew that the child may have been carrying the weapon, but did nothing to seize the gun.

In a parent only meeting on Thursday night, Superintendent George Parker told the attendees that a school official had been notified about the weapon prior to the incident taking place at Richneck Elementary in Newport News.

“At least one administrator was notified of a possible weapon in the timeline that we’re reviewing and was aware that that student had, there was a potential that there was a weapon on campus,” the superintendent told parents in attendance.

The police chief had previously stated that the child had brought the gun to the school in his backpack. The shooting was described as intentional.

The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, was shot in chest and transported to the hospital. She is reported to be in stable condition.

The gun used had belonged to the mother of the student and was purchased legally. Details on how he gained access to the weapon remain unclear. Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun to be easily accessible to a child under 14 years of age.

The child is being held at a medical facility following a custody order, a judge is set to determine what happens next with him.

The superintendent and a spokeswoman did not comment further on the new information. Newport News School Board Chair Lisa Surles-Law announced on Thursday that the district will be installing metal detectors at all schools.