Teacher shot by 6-year-old no longer in critical condition as she’s hailed a hero for helping pupils flee

A Virginia first-grade school teacher who was critically injured when she was allegedly shot by a six-year-old student has been hailed as a hero for warning other children to flee.

Abby Zwerner was identified as the teacher who suffered “life-threatening injuries” after being shot at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Friday by local news station WTKR.

Ms Zwerner, who is in her 30s, was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center in a critical condition.

A Newport News police spokesperson told The Independent in a statement that the victim’s condition had improved and she was listed as stable on Saturday afternoon.

Sebastian Gonzalez-Hernandez told Fox3 his six-year-old son was in the class at the time of the shooting, and praised Ms Zwerner’s selfless actions.

“She screamed at her kids to run away” after being shot, Mr Gonzalez-Hernandez told Fox3, appearing to show more concern for the students’ safety than her own.

He said his son heard the gun go off and turned to see Ms Zwerner collapse on the ground before running from the classroom.

Abby Zwerner was critically injured after being shot by a 6-year-old student at the Virginia elementary school she teaches at (Facebook / Abby Zwerner)
Abby Zwerner was critically injured after being shot by a 6-year-old student at the Virginia elementary school she teaches at (Facebook / Abby Zwerner)

“We’re all thinking about her and hoping she gets better soon,” he told Fox3.

Another unnamed parent told WTKR she was furious that a young child had been able to bring a gun to school.

The parent, speaking in an English accent and who said she was living in the US because her husband was serving in the military, said: “Guns, OK, that’s the biggest problem in this country. Why is there a seven-year-old with a bloody gun?”

Referring to Governor Glenn Youngkin she added: “Let’s do something. We’ve got a new governor now, let’s do something, let’s change it.”

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Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew met with the victim and her family on Saturday morning, a spokesperson told The Independent.

“He asked that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, we will not be releasing any further information at this time.”

At a press conference on Friday night, Mr Drew said the shooting occurred after an “altercation” between the student and the teacher.

“This was not an accidental shooting,” he said.

Police outside  Richneck Elementary School, in Newport News, Virginia, after a teacher was shot there on Friday (The Virginian-Pilot)
Police outside Richneck Elementary School, in Newport News, Virginia, after a teacher was shot there on Friday (The Virginian-Pilot)

Mr Drew said detectives were investigating how the child got hold of the weapon. The six-year-old remains in police custody.

Newport News Public Schools superintendent George Parker said on Friday he was “shocked and disheartened” at the shooting.

“We need to keep guns out of the hands of our young people,” he told a press conference.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a statement his administration was providing support to the school district.

“I am continuing to monitor the situation and am praying for the continued safety of all students and the community,” he said.