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First Grade Teacher Critically Wounded By 6-Year-Old Boy Who Shot Her In Front Of His Class

Newport News, VA – A teacher was shot and critically wounded by a six-year-old student in a first grade classroom on Friday in Newport News.

Authorities responded to Richneck Elementary School, located in the 200-block of Tyner Drive, off Jefferson Avenue, just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, for a report of a shooting inside a classroom, WAVY reported.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew told reporters at a press briefing that a six-year-old boy was involved in “an altercation” with his teacher before he pulled out a handgun and shot her, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

“This was not an accidental shooting,” Chief Drew said.

The police chief said that one round was fired, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The six-year-old shooter was taken into custody at the scene.

No students were injured during the incident, according to police.

The teacher who was shot is a woman in her 30s, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Officials have not yet publicly identified the teacher but said she suffered life-threatening injuries.

“She was transported to an area hospital, where I can tell you that’s where our thoughts and prayers are at this time,” Chief Drew told reporters.

Another six-year-old student who was in the classroom when her teacher was shot told reporters that her classmate shot their teacher “on purpose,” The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The little girl, whose mother asked that her child’s name be withheld, said that her teacher was shot in the stomach and she fell to her knees on the floor.

“We believe that once we walked in and had the information we had coming in [the school], we had the individual in custody,” Chief Drew told reporters at a press briefing outside the elementary school. “We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting. We had a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired.”

Police said on Friday that it was unclear where the first grader got the handgun he used to shoot his teacher, or what the details were of the “altercation” that led up to the shooting, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Chief Drew would not say whether police had been in contact with the suspect’s parents but said that the entire incident was under full investigation by all the proper authorities and agencies.

What happens next to the six-year-old gunman remains to be seen as Virginia laws limit the ways in which a child can be punished, WTOP reported.

In Virginia, a six year old cannot be charged or tried as an adult.

Additionally, under Virginia law, a six year old is also too young to be committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice even if they are found guilty of a serious crime, WTOP reported.

The matter would have to go before a juvenile judge who could revoke a parent’s custody and place a child under the purview of the Department of Social Services if they determined that was the best course of action.

Experts said the fact that this shooting was committed by a six year old and occurred inside a classroom is very rare, according to WTOP.

James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Boston’s Northeastern University, said he could think of only one previous incident involving a child that young, and in that instance, the victim was another child.

“There are students who killed teachers, more typically high school students,” Fox said. “I don’t know of other cases where a 6-year-old shot a teacher.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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