Police Praise Teacher For Hustling Students Out Of Room After Getting Shot In Hand, Chest By 6-Year-Old

[Public/Screenshot/Facebook/Newport News Police Department]

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The Newport News elementary school teacher shot by her 6-year-old student was hailed a hero by police Monday during a press conference about the ongoing investigation.

Abigail Zwerner, 25, was in the middle of teaching her class Friday at Richneck Elementary School when one of her students pulled out a firearm, aimed it at Zwerner and pulled the trigger, Police Chief Steve Drew said in a press conference.

The single bullet first struck Zwerner in the hand before lodging in her upper chest, Drew continued. Though she was injured, Zwerner ushered her students out of the classroom before making her way to the administrative offices to seek help.

“She is a hero,” Drew said, adding he was certain Zwerner “saved lives” that day.

A school employee entered the classroom after the shooting and physically restrained the boy until officers arrived soon after. Drew said the child was “combative” and that he struck the employee before police took control of the situation. Officers brought the boy out of the building placed him in a police car. The child was then transported to a hospital for evaluation, where he remains, Drew continued. (RELATED: 6-Year-Old In Custody After Allegedly Shooting Teacher)

“This is an unprecedented situation that we’re dealing with — a 6-year-old,” Drew said.

He explained it would be up to a judge to determine the boy’s next steps.

According to Virginia law, a 6-year-old child is too young to be held in custody at the Department of Juvenile Justice if the child is found guilty. A judge would have to rule the child was fully aware of the ramifications for his actions, the legal proceedings against him and be able to assist in his own defense. Andrew Block, a University of Virginia School of Law professor, believes such a situation is “virtually impossible,” according to Fox News.

Drew did not give a definite answer as to whether the boy’s parents could be charged in relation to the shooting, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. After all of the interviews are conducted and all of the information has been gathered from witnesses and state organizations, the Commonwealth attorney’s office will review “what the facts are and what the law supports,” and that will determine whether the child’s parents will be charged, Drew said.

Zwerner’s condition has been upgraded from critical to stable, though she remains hospitalized, Drew added.