The 6-year-old boy who allegedly shot his elementary school teacher earlier this year will not be criminally charged, Newport News, Virginia, Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told CNN affiliate WTKR.
The student allegedly shot and wounded Richneck Elementary School teacher Abigail Zwerner on January 6, leaving her critically injured from a bullet that struck her chest. She was released from the hospital more than a week after the shooting.
“After researching this issue thoroughly, we do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a 6-year-old with aggravated assault,” Gwynn told WTKR Wednesday.
“I can say the prosecutorial efforts are focused on determining what the facts are, applying those facts to the law, and determining whether we can charge anyone 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 immediately received a response.
When reached by CNN, Toscano Law Group, which represents Zwerner, declined to comment.
And in the weeks that followed, school and district leaders faced intense criticism over their handling of the incident and potential red flags that preceded the violence, with at least two officials leaving their posts.
Police investigated for more than a month
Newport News Police said late last month they had completed their investigation into the shooting and presented it to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.
“We had a lot of witnesses, a lot of students, a lot of children to interview and that took a long process,” police chief Steve Drew said in a February 21 Facebook live briefing. “It’s not something we wanted to rush through.”
Gwynn told CNN in February his office had received “three binders” of investigative material from police and would also be reviewing hours’ worth of police body camera footage.
Similar to his comments to the affiliate this week, Gwynn told CNN on February 24 his office was reviewing the facts and added, “Any person we can charge and convict beyond a reasonable doubt, we will charge.”
In a January interview with CNN, the police chief said there was “certainly a possibility” the 6-year-old boy’s mother could face charges connected to the January shooting.
What we know about the boy
Authorities have not shared many details about the child accused of firing at his teacher.