It’s been three months since the Jan. 6 shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. While instances like these have unfortunately increased in recent years, what made this one particularly shocking is that it was carried out by a 6-year-old child. This week, Abigail Zwerner, the educator wounded by the student, sat down with NBC to discuss the incident.
On Monday (March 20), a portion of Zwerner’s interview aired on “NBC Nightly News.” During the program, she discussed her healing journey, noting there are days when she “can’t get up out of bed.” Since being shot in her hand and chest, she’s undergone four surgeries to repair the damage. “For going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive. You know, try to have a positive outlook on what’s happened and where my future’s heading,” the Virginia resident shared.
She recalled other first graders present in the classroom at the time of the attack. “I just wanted to get my babies out of there. I think they knew as well that they had to get out of there. But they were extremely frightened and screaming,” Zwerner said of the horrific day. Once the school’s fire alarms went off and other students and staff were frantically yelling, she realized she’d been shot. She started having trouble seeing and breathing, but thankfully got herself to safety. “I went to the office, and I just passed out. I thought I had died,” the instructor said. She later learned she suffered from a collapsed lung and revealed some bullet fragments remain lodged in her chest.
“I just will never forget the look on his face that he gave me while he pointed the gun directly at me,” the educator continued. “I’m not sure when the shock will ever go away because of just how surreal it was and the vivid memories I have of that day. I think about it daily. Sometimes I have nightmares,” she added. Michelle Price, a spokeswoman for Newport News, Virginia Public Schools, released a statement, saying in part, “As a school community, we continue to recover and support one another after the terrible event of Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary School.” Price added, they “appreciate her sharing her story.”
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