The Virginia city prosecutor decided not to bring charges against the 6-year-old boy, but he is still considering whether criminal prosecution could be brought against any adults involved in the case.
Howard Gwynn, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney, stated in an interview with NBC News the “prospect of a 6-year old can stand trial” because a 6-year old would not be able to understand the legal system, what a charge is, or how to assist an attorney.
Gwynn stated to NBC News that he doesn’t believe that there is a way forward for the 6-year-old who shot his second-grade teacher. Gwynn instead is focusing his attention on other people.
Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot by the boy with a gun his mother owned. Zwerner was teaching elementary school classes. The boy’s mother legally bought the 9mm handgun that was used in the shooting. His family claimed that the gun was “secured” in her closet, on a shelf six feet tall, with a trigger lock that required keys.
A family member shared with us that the boy had an “acute handicap” which allowed one of his parents to accompany him every day to school. It was the first time that a parent wasn’t present during the week of the shooting.
Gwynn stated that “our objective is not to do it as quickly as we can.” “Once all facts have been analyzed, we will file charges against any person or persons we feel can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to have committed a crime.”
Virginia law prohibits 6-year-olds from being tried as adults. A 6-year-old child is not allowed to be placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice for a conviction.
However, a juvenile judge would be able to remove a parent from custody and place the child under the Department of Social Services.
Zwerner has filed a lawsuit against the school district after the shooting. Diane Toscano, Zwerner’s attorney stated, “Teachers and staff were concerned that the boy was carrying a gun and was threatening other students on Jan. 25.” “But the administration couldn’t be bothered.”
“On that day, over the span of a few hours three different times — three occasions — school administration was warned, by concerned teachers, and students that the boy had a gun and was threatening others at school. Toscano said that the administration couldn’t be bothered.
Richneck Elementary School fired the superintendent of its school district in the wake of the shooting. This was in response to parents claiming negligence.
“How many shootings or incidents are necessary to make metal detectors mandatory at all schools, entrances, and every day of the year, with no exceptions?” Riri Mimi wrote. “Issue a clear backpack policy AND place armed school resource officers into EVERY school.”