The mayor of a Virginia city where a school shooting carried out by a 6-year-old left an elementary school teacher critically injured said the shocking incident should serve as a wakeup call.
“This is a red flag for the country,” Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones said Saturday. “I do think that after this event, there is going to be a nationwide discussion on how these sorts of things can be prevented.
Jones’ comments came just one day after the boy, who has not been identified due to his age, shot teacher Abby Zwerner in a classroom at Richneck Elementary school.
Jones said Zwerner remains hospitalized, but her condition is “trending in a positive direction.”
The Newport News police also released a statement Saturday saying the department’s chief, Steve Drew, met with the teacher and she is currently listed in stable condition.
Zwerner, who is now being hailed as a hero, was rushed to Riverside Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries following the shooting.
Authorities have not gone into detail about what transpired before the shooting, but during a Friday press conference, Drew said that the incident “was not an accidental shooting.”
“It was in a classroom, and there was a fight,” Drew said.
Newport News School Superintendent George Parker said the school will be closed through at least Monday as it addresses “the mental health of our staff and our students.”
“I cannot control access to weapons. My teachers cannot control access to weapons,” Parker added. “Our students got a lesson in gun violence and what guns can do to disrupt not only an educational environment but also a family, a community.”
The 6-year-old was arrested following the shooting, although Virginia law does not allow children that young to be tried as adults.
The boy is also not old enough to be taken into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if he is found guilty.
However, a judge could place the boy with the Department of Social Services and remove his parent’s custody, the Associated Press reported.
“We are ensuring he has all the services that he currently needs right now,” Jones said.