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The family of a 6-year-old boy who was alleged to have shot his teacher intentionally in a Virginia school has spoken out for the first time since the incident occured.
The police accused the boy of intentionally showing up at school on Jan. 6 with a gun and shooting his 25-year-old teacher, Abigail Zwerner.
In a statement made available to newmen Thursday via their attorney James Ellenson, the family claims the firearm used by their son was secured.
“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” the family’s statement said. “We have been cooperating with local and federal law enforcement to understand how this could have happened.”
Police said records show that the 9 mm Taurus pistol was legally acquired by the mother of the boy, who had since not been named publicly.
The statement added that the child “suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day. The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”
The family said the child is receiving medical attention at a hospital.
They expressed regret at their son’s behavior and prayed for the teacher’s healing in what they described as “the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy” as, according to her, she selflessly served their son and the children in the school.
“She has worked diligently and compassionately to support our family as we sought the best education and learning environment for our son.”
Zwerner, in a heroic display, had successfully taken her students out of the classroom into safety, despite sustaining a gunshot wound.
She was taken to the hospital but was released earlier this week.
The first-grade Elementary teacher will continue her recovery as an out-patient as she enjoys support from friends, family and health professionals.
The Riverside Regional Medical Center respectfully called for privacy on behalf of the Zwerner family.
The shooting occurred at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, about 70 miles outside Richmond.
According to authorities, there was an altercation in the classroom before the child shot the teacher with the handgun, leaving her with serious injuries. The police described the incident as an “isolated” event and confirmed that only one round was fired.
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