Mother charged in connection to shooting of teacher Abby Zwerner

A grand jury indicted a mother with child neglect, recklessly leaving a loaded firearm to endanger a child after a 6-year-old shot a Virginia teacher.
Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 10, 2023

The mother of a six-year-old child who police say shot first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner at a Newport News, Virginia elementary school has been charged with two crimes, according to authorities. 

A grand jury indicted the mother with the offenses of child neglect — a felony — and recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child — a misdemeanor — according to Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn.

"Every criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues," Gwynn said.

Zwerner was hospitalized for nearly two weeks after being shot in the chest and left hand as she taught her class on January 6, 2023 at Richneck Elementary School.

Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, told reporters in January that concerned staff at the school had warned administrators three times that the 6-year-old had a gun and was threatening other students in the hours before Zwerner was shot.

Toscano said the school administration “was paralyzed by apathy” and did not call the police, remove the boy from class or lock down the school.

Gwynn also asked the circuit court to impanel a special grand jury to investigate security issues at the school.

"The safety and security of Newport News students is of utmost importance. The special grand jury will investigate to determine whether additional charges against additional persons are justified by the facts and the law," Gwynn said. 

"If the Special Grand Jury determines that additional persons are criminally responsible under the law, it can return additional indictments," she said. 

This story was originally publishedby Scripps News Richmond. 

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