The family of a six-year-old Virginia student who police say shot his teacher inside his classroom in early January is now speaking out, saying the firearm the child brought to school was “secured” and that they are praying for the teacher who was struck.
Abby Zwerner, the 25-year-old first grade teacher who was targeted at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, is reported to be in stable condition following the incident on Jan. 6. Zwerner was struck in the hand and upper chest, but still ushered 17 to 20 other students out of the classroom after the shooting.
“Our heart goes out to our son’s teacher and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school,” the child’s family said Thursday in a statement issued by their attorney.
The statement said the weapon used in the shooting, which police said was a 9-millimeter Taurus handgun, had been “secured.”
“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” the statement added, but did not elaborate on where the gun was being held prior to the shooting.
The family said the child involved in the shooting “suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day,” yet the week of the shooting “was the first week when we were not in class with him.
“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the statement read, also revealing that the child has since “been under hospital care and receiving the treatment he needs.”
Newport News police Chief Steve Drew previously said no altercation took place before the shooting, noting that the boy raised the gun and fired once at Zwerner, who took a defensive position.
Another school employee rushed into the classroom and restrained the boy, who became combative, according to Drew.
Police officers then escorted the boy out of the classroom and confiscated the firearm.
No charges have been filed yet in the case.
Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.