No charges for boy accused of shooting teacher Abby Zwerner
After a Virginia prosecutor announced that a 6-year-old student would not be prosecuted for allegedly shooting his teacher dead, it’s unclear whether charges will ever be brought in the case.
The student, who has not been publicly identified, is said to have shot Abigail Zwerner, 25, on January 6 with a handgun he had brought to school from home. Police have determined the shooting, in which Zwerner suffered “life-threatening injuries,” was not an accident.
On Wednesday, Newport News Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn told NBC News that he did not believe there was any legal basis to charge the child. He reportedly said that the “prospect of a six-year-old being able to stand trial is problematic” because such a young child would not be able to understand the legal system and participate in his or her own defence.
Gwynn told the network the investigation could still lead to criminal prosecution.
“Our goal isn’t just to do something as quickly as possible,” Gwynn reportedly said. “Once we have analyzed all the facts, we will charge any person or persons whom we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt has committed a crime.”
Gwynn’s office did not immediately respond to a request from Law&Crime Thursday for an update on the investigation.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew had previously suggested the boy’s mother could face charges. Weeks after the shooting, the child’s parents released a statement, through their attorney, saying the gun had been seized and their child has an “acute disability” that usually involves one of his parents going to school with him.
A lawyer for Zwerner has accused the school of repeatedly ignoring warnings that the boy – who allegedly had a history of violence, including choking a teacher until she could not breathe – was carrying a gun that day.
“The administration couldn’t take care of it,” Diane Toscano told a news conference in late January, adding that a school administrator downplayed the risk, saying the boy had “small pockets.”
Days later, it was announced that Richneck Elementary’s top leadership had been pulled from the school and the superintendent departed from the district.
At the press conference, Toscano said a lawsuit was pending, but a search of Virginia court records Thursday did not reveal another lawsuit had been filed.
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https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/no-criminal-charges-for-6-year-old-virginia-boy-who-shot-teacher-but-another-person-or-persons-may-face-liability-prosecutor/ No charges for boy accused of shooting teacher Abby Zwerner