According to Newport News, Virginia’s chief prosecutor, there is no legal basis on which to charge the six year old who shot his teacher, but he is still considering charging others.
Newport News city prosecutor said that his office would not charge January’s six year old school shooter. He also indicated that some adults associated with the child may face charges.
Howard Gwynn, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney said that the “prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic” because of the child’s lack of understanding of the legal system, his inability to assist his attorney, and or understand the charges.
Gwynn stated that “our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible,” and that “once we analyze all the facts, we will charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime”, indicating that his office will continue to consider methods by which to hold the child accountable for his actions.
A lawyer for the victim and first grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner, said that the shooter had “behavioral issues and a pattern of troubling interactions with school staff and other students.” According to a notice of intent to sue, the day prior to the shooting, the shooter was riding out a day of suspension for breaking Zwerner’s mobile phone.
Zwerner’s lawyer, Diane Toscano said that the shooting was “entirely preventable” and that administrators “failed to act, and [that] Abby was shot” in spite of reports from three separate teachers that the student was suspected to be in possession of a firearm. Toscano added that if the administration “had taken action when they had knowledge of imminent danger,” that Zwerner might not have been shot.
Following the shooting, the six year old’s family issues a statement saying that the gun used in the shooting was “secured” and that they have “always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children.”
Gwynn said, “In our case, the police decided to turn the file over to us to make a decision. And we have to make our decision based on our ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a crime occurred.”