Child, 6, 'deliberately' shoots hero teacher and leaves her in life-threatening condition

7 January 2023, 07:22 | Updated: 8 January 2023, 08:33

The hero teacher screamed for pupils at the elementary school to run
The hero teacher screamed for pupils at the elementary school to run. Picture: Facebook/Google Maps

By Will Taylor

A teacher is in a life-threatening condition after a six-year-old shot her in the US.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Abby Zwerner, 25, bravely shout for pupils to flee in the incident on Friday afternoon.

Police say the shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, was not an accident.

She was taken to hospital in a critical condition and underwent surgery.

The shots were fired in a first grade classroom – for children aged six or seven - and all the other youngsters at the school, which teaches more than 500 pupils, were safe.

Police said the boy, who was taken into custody, used a handgun.

Ms Zwerner was in a critical condition
Ms Zwerner was in a critical condition. Picture: Facebook

Police Chief Steve Drew said: "We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting."

Steve Gonzalez-Hernandez, the parent of a six-year-old child who was in the class when the shooting happened, said she "screamed at her kids to run away" and added: "Even after she'd been shot she was thinking about the safety of her children."

He told the Mail: "My son didn't see what happened, he heard the gunshot go off, and turned around to see Miss Zwerner on the floor.

"She is an amazing teacher, so dedicated.

"My son absolutely loves her, and we're devastated about what's happened. We are all thinking of her and hoping that she gets better soon."

Read more: NFL star Damar Hamlin breathing on his own again after cardiac arrest mid-game

The shooting happened in Newport News, on Virginia's coast
The shooting happened in Newport News, on Virginia's coast. Picture: Google Maps

He added the incident was "not accidental" and said: "The number one priority for me is to check on our victim at the hospital and get all these students back with their families."

The grandmother of a child there claimed a child brought bullets to the school "last week" and said he would bring his gun but the school had been told they were actually nerf bullets. It is unclear if that was the same child as the one who shot Ms Zwerner.

The school district head, Dr George Parker, said officials will looking into what caused the shooting.

"When we have a perceived threat or issue, we do random metal detection on those days," he said.

"Today, our students got a lesson in gun violence. We need to keep the guns out of the hands of our young people."

A British parent, whose child goes to school there because her husband is in the military, told WTKR: "Guns, that's the biggest problem in this country. Why is there a seven-year-old with a bloody gun?"

Newport News mayor Phillip Jones said it was a dark day for his city.

"We're going to learn from this and we're going to come back stronger," he added.

Virginia’s governor Glenn Youngkin said he was praying for the pupils' safety and its monitoring the situation.

Lessons on Monday were scrapped after the incident.