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6-year-old who shot teacher in Virginia will not face charges, prosecutor says

No charges for 6-year-old who shot teacher

No charges for 6-year-old who shot teacher in Virginia


The 6-year-old who shot his elementary school teacher in Newport News, Virginia, in January will not face charges, according to the case’s prosecutor, though it has not yet been decided whether any adults will be held criminally responsible. 

The prosecutor said that a child that young could not reasonably stand trial, and it would be “too problematic” to pursue charges, as he would not be able to understand the legal system, the basis of the charges or be able to provide sufficient assistance to his counsel.

“We do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a 6-year-old with aggravated assault,” Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told WTKR.

Children arrive at Richneck Elementary School
Children arrive at Richneck Elementary School for the first day of classes back at the school in Newport News, Va., on Monday, January 30, 2023. The school has been closed since an incident earlier this month involving a 6-year-old student bringing a gun to school and shooting his teacher.

Kristen Zeis/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Charges for a child this young are not prohibited under Virginia law.

The victim of the shooting, Richneck Elementary School teacher Abigail Zwerner, had repeatedly warned school officials about the child, and even alerted administrators that the boy could potentially be armed on the day the shooting took place. Zwerner’s attorney announced her intent to file a lawsuit against the school district.

The boy’s parents maintained in a statement through their lawyer that their son suffered an “acute disability,” but declined to give further specifics. They also insisted that the gun their son used to shoot his teacher had been “secured” in their home. 

Zwerner’s legal team told CBS News that they are “not making any comment on this.”

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