Crime /

Virginia First Grader Who Shot Teacher: 'I Shot That B---- Dead'

Newly unsealed search warrants have revealed additional details about the January shooting inside Richneck Elementary

New details about the reaction of the six-year-old student who brought a gun to school and shot his teacher have been made public after several search warrants were unsealed. 

The shooting occurred on Jan. 6, 2023 at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia and left 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner bleeding from her hand and upper torso.

According to the search warrants, Amy Kovac – a reading specialist at the school – rushed into the classroom moments after hearing gunshots and restrained the child, who was standing by his desk with the gun on the ground.

“I shot that b—- dead,” the boy told Kovac.

“I did it,” he added. “I got my mom’s gun last night.”

Kovac also told law enforcement that two other students had told her before the shooting that they had seen the boy with a gun in his backpack earlier in the day. The boy’s bag was searched by Kovac and a school administrator but the gun was not found, per Fox News

Zwerner told investigators that, when she separated her class into two groups for a reading activity, the boy took out the gun. She said she asked the student, “What are you doing with that?” and the boy fired. 

Zwerner has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News School District School Board. She alleges that the school failed to implement safety measures and repeatedly ignored warnings about the boy’s behavior.

“This should have never happened. It was preventable and thank God Abby is alive. But had the school administrators acted in the interest of their teachers and their students, Abby would not have sustained a gunshot wound to the chest,” said Diane Toscano, one of the attorneys representing the teacher.

The boy, who has not been publicly named, had a history of behavioral issues and had already been suspended for breaking Zwerner’s cell phone. Police also interviewed the student’s kindergarten teacher who said he had choked her in September 2021. The unseal warrant noted that the school kept limited records about the boy and there was nothing about the choking incident. 

Investigators wrote that information about that incident and “possibly others were not readily provided by Newport News Public Schools.”

Because of the boy’s age, he was not charged with shooting Zwener. It is not legally possible to criminally charge a six-year-old in Virginia

The child’s mother, Deja Taylor, was indicted by a grand jury in April on a felony count of child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child. Her legal team has said it is unclear how the child obtained the 9 mm Taurus pistol, which Taylor reportedly kept locked in a box on a high shelf in a closet. 

Her trial is set for Aug. 15.

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