Abby Zwerner, a first-grade teacher from Virginia, has opened up about the life-altering incident in which she was shot by her six-year-old student. In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Zwerner revealed that the experience has had a lasting impact on her life, with vivid memories and nightmares of the event still haunting her.
Zwerner admitted that she is still in shock and unable to comprehend the situation, which happened on January 6. Since then, she has undergone four surgeries and experienced a challenging recovery. Some days she struggles to get out of bed, while on others, she is able to go about her daily routine. Zwerner strives to maintain a positive outlook on the future despite her ordeal.
The shooting occurred at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, when Zwerner was teaching her class. She was hospitalized for almost two weeks after sustaining gunshot wounds to her chest and left hand. The incident not only shocked the local community but also raised concerns nationwide about how a young child could gain access to a firearm and shoot a teacher.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Zwerner’s primary concern was for her students. She described the other first-graders as being “extremely frightened and screaming” and recalled her efforts to get the children out of the classroom. Following the shooting, she had difficulty breathing and lost her vision. Unbeknownst to her at the time, her lung had collapsed, and she only survived because she had raised her hands to protect herself.
Zwerner is planning to sue the school district, as indicated in a legal notice filed by her attorney. Earlier this month, Newport News prosecutor Howard Gwynn announced that no criminal charges would be filed against the young boy, as he would not understand the legal system or the implications of the charges. Gwynn has yet to determine whether any adults will be charged in relation to the incident.
The firearm used by the boy belonged to his mother and was legally purchased. A representative for the boy’s family has stated that the weapon was stored on a closet shelf with a lock in place. When asked about what justice would mean for her, Zwerner found it difficult to provide a clear answer.