No charges for boy accused of shooting teacher Abby Zwerner

Abby Zwerner, a first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., suffered “life-threatening” injuries after being shot by a six-year-old student on Jan. 6, 2023. [Screengrab via GoFundMe]

Following the announcement from a Virginia prosecutor that a 6-year-old student will not face criminal charges for allegedly shooting his teacher, it’s unclear whether charges will be filed at all in connection with this case.

The student, who has not been publicly identified, allegedly shot Abigail Zwerner, 25, on Jan. 6 with a handgun he had brought to school from his home. Police have determined that the shooting, which left Zwerner with “life threatening injuries,” was not an accident.

On Wednesday, Newport News Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn told NBC News that he did not believe there is a legal basis to charge the child. He reportedly said that the “prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic” because a child that young wouldn’t be able to understand the legal system and participate in his own defense.

Gwynn indicated to the network that the investigation still may result in criminal prosecution.

“Our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible,” Gwynn reportedly said. “Once we analyze all the facts, we charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime.”

Gwynn’s office did not immediately reply to a request from Law&Crime on Thursday for an update on the investigation.

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