The 6-year-old accused of shooting his first grade teacher in January will not face aggravated assault charges, according to Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn, who spoke with NBC News earlier this week.
As previously reported by REVOLT, the child is accused of critically wounding Abigail Zwerner in the chest on Jan. 6 after the two were involved in a dispute inside a classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. On Wednesday (March 8), Gwynn said the “prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic” as part of his office’s rationale for not pursuing charges. He also cited that the young elementary school student lacked the competency to understand the legal system.
However, charges can still be brought against other adults who may possibly be connected to the incident. “Our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible. Once we analyze all the facts, we will charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime,” said Gwynn.
In the wake of the shooting, Zwerner and other teachers’ concerns about the child were brought to light. According to multiple reports, the little boy had a history of problematic behavior that raised red flags among the faculty. He is accused of trying to whip classmates with his belt, choking a teacher until she could not breathe, cursing and throwing items such as chairs and Zwerner’s phone.
It was also revealed that three teachers warned administrators that the pupil may have brought a weapon to school moments before he used the 9mm gun to injure the 25-year-old instructor. Michelle Price, a spokesperson for the Newport News school district, confirmed the child’s backpack was searched but the firearm was not located. In late January, attorney Diane Toscano, who represents Zwerner, announced plans to file suit against the district.