Lawyer for Newport News teacher shot by 6-year-old announces lawsuit

25 January 2023

Updates from press conference:

Lawyer says Abby is home and is getting better every day

She says school administration was told three times by staff members that the boy had a gun on him at the school that day

Abby went to school administrators that the 6-year-old threatened to beat up another student that same day

Around 12:30 p.m., another teacher told the administration that she searched the boys backpack and told them she thought the boy put the gun in his pocket

Administrators told that teacher “well he has little pockets”

Another teacher told administrators that a boy was crying because the 6-year-old showed the gun to the boy and said that he would shoot him if he told anyone

A fourth teacher asked if he could search the 6-year-old’s backpack and he was denied

The lawyer sent a note this morning that she will be filing a lawsuit on Abby’s behalf

The bullet Abby was hit with is still in her body, according to her lawyer

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The lawyer for the Newport News first grade teacher shot by her student on Jan. 6 will make her first public statement since the incident Wednesday.

Complete Coverage: Richneck Elementary School Shooting

Virginia trial lawyer Diane Toscano represents 25-year-old Richneck Elementary School teacher Abby Zwerner. Toscano plans to provide an update on Abby Wednesday morning, and says she will share new information about the shooting.

Zwerner was in class teaching, when police say a 6-year-old student shot her. She was critically injured, but continued to show improvement and was released from Riverside Regional Medical Center last week, the hospital confirmed to WAVY.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew hailed Zwerner a hero, saying she made sure all her students got out of the classroom to safety after she was shot.

The parents of the child accused in this incident issued a statement last week, but this will be the first time we’re hearing from Zwerner’s lawyer.

The statement from the family of the 6-year-old said the firearm the child accessed was secured and that they have “always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children.”

There is no information yet how the child got access to the weapon.

It is unlikely the first grader will face charges due to his age, and no charges have been filed against his parents. The investigation is ongoing.

Read the full statement from the child’s family

Richneck Elementary School has been closed since the shooting. The district announced students will return to class Monday, Jan. 30. There’s an orientation this Wednesday, Jan. 25 to begin the transition back to school.

Wednesday’s public statement will be held in Newport News at 11 a.m. Zwerner will not be present and attorney Toscano will not answer questions from the media, according to an email announcing the press conference.

WAVY will be there and we plan to provide live coverage on and our Facebook page.

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