- The teacher suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot inside a first-grade classroom Friday
- Police said the gunshot was not an accident
- Newport News officials are working on measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future
A teacher was injured in a shooting at an elementary school after a 6-year-old student allegedly opened fire during an altercation in Virginia Friday, according to police and school officials.
No students were injured in the shooting, which occurred in a first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, at around 2 pm Friday, the Newport News Police Department said in a statement.
The teacher, whose name was not released but was identified as a woman in her 30s, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Her condition had improved somewhat by late afternoon, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said.
The unidentified suspect is in custody, Drew said in a press conference held hours after the shooting.
Drew told reporters that the shooting was not an accident. The police chief also said that it didn’t appear that the student and the teacher knew each other beyond the classroom environment, ABC News reported.
He said investigators were trying to figure out where the boy obtained the handgun used in the incident. He did not provide additional details on the shooting and the altercation between the teacher and the student that led to it.
As for the young student, Drew said that they would seek help from the commonwealth attorney and other entities.
“We have been in contact with our commonwealth attorney and some other entities to help us best get services to this young man,” the police chief said.
Virginia law does not allow 6-year-olds to be tried as adults, according to the Associated Press. Even if they are found guilty, a child of that age would be too young to be committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
But a juvenile judge could place the child under the purview of the Department of Social Services.
Also present during the press conference was the superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, Dr. George Parker. He was admitted to being shocked by the incident and pointed out how they, as well as teachers, cannot control any student’s access to weapons.
“Today our students got a lesson in gun violence,” said Parker, “and what guns can do to disrupt, not only an educational environment, but also a family, a community.”
Looking ahead, Newport News Major Phillip Jones told reporters that they will work on ensuring that they have the right policies in place to avoid a similar incident in the future.
The superintendent announced that the school will remain closed Monday as they try to work on the mental health of their staff and the students.