(CNN) – The 6 year old boy who allegedly shot his elementary school teacher earlier this year does not face criminal charges, Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn told CNN affiliate Newport News, Virginia WTKR.
The student allegedly shot and wounded the teacher at Richneck Elementary School Abigail Zwerner on January 6, leaving her badly injured by a bullet that struck her chest. She was discharged from the hospital more than a week after the shooting.
“Having thoroughly investigated this issue, we do not believe the law supports the charging and conviction of a 6-year-old with aggravated assault,” Gwynn told WTKR on Wednesday.
“I can say that the prosecution’s efforts are focused on getting the facts, applying those facts to the law and determining whether we can charge someone with a crime that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Gwynn added.
The prosecutor’s decision was first reported by NBC News.
CNN has reached out to Gwynn and the attorney for the student’s parents, but has not received an immediate response.
When reached by CNN, the Toscano Law Group, which represents Zwerner, declined to comment.
And in the weeks that followed, school and district leaders, with at least two officers, faced severe criticism for their handling of the incident and any warning signs that preceded the violence leave their posts.
The police have been investigating for more than a month
Newport News police said late last month they had completed their investigation into the shooting and were referring it to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
“We had a lot of witnesses, a lot of students, a lot of kids to interview, and it was a long process,” Police Commissioner Steve Drew said in an interview February 21 Live briefing on Facebook. “It’s not something we wanted to rush.”
Gwynn told CNN in February that his office had received “three folders” of investigative materials from police and would also be reviewing hours of police body camera footage.
Similar to his comments to the partner this week, Gwynn told CNN on Feb. 24 his office is fact-checking, adding, “Any person we can charge and convict without a reasonable doubt, we will charge.”
In a January interview with CNN, the police chief said that was the case “Surely a possibility” The 6-year-old boy’s mother could face charges in connection with the January shooting.
What we know about the boy
Authorities have not shared many details about the child accused of shooting his teacher.
In a statement released about two weeks after the shooting, the boy’s family said “the firearm accessed by our son has been seized.” The statement of the family continued that the child has “an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that required his mother or father to attend school with him and accompany him to class every day.”
The week of the shooting marked the first week that the boy’s parents were not in class with him, they said in their statement, adding, “We will regret our absence that day for the rest of our lives.”
In a later statement to CNN, The lawyer representing the child’s family said the gun was kept on the top shelf of the mother’s bedroom closet and secured by a trigger lock, but did not specify how the boy accessed the gun. Authorities said the gun was purchased legally.
The shooting was followed by weeks of questions from concerned community members about how school officials had responded to previous instances of alleged violent behavior.
A Legal Notice of January 24th sent to the Newport News School Board by Zwerner’s attorney, claimed the boy had a history of troubling behavior, including swearing at staff, attempting to whip students with his belt and choking a teacher.
According to the document, the student was suspended for a day after he allegedly “slammed” and smashed Zwerner’s cell phone and verbally abused careers advisers. When he returned from the suspension in Zwerner’s classroom, he shot her, the statement said.
The former director denied knowing the boy had a gun
The teacher’s attorney has also claimed that school officials were notified of the gun’s presence multiple times on the day of the shooting.
“Over the course of a few hours, school officials were warned three times – three times – by concerned teachers and staff that the boy was carrying a gun at school and was threatening people,” attorney Diane Toscano told reporters in a Press conference at the end of January.
Toscano claimed the government “did not act” even though it had “awareness of an imminent danger”.
An attorney for Briana Foster Newton, the former principal of the elementary school, said her client didn’t know The student had a gun at school that day. Newton was reassigned after the shooting.
“The fact is, those who knew that the student might have had a gun on the premises that day did not report it to Mrs. Newton at all,” said her attorney, Pamela Branch. said in February.
Branch did not say who might have been informed that the student had a gun that day.
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