Virginia teacher allegedly shot by 6-year-old student released from hospital

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A Virginia elementary school teacher allegedly shot by a 6-year-old nearly two weeks ago was released from an area hospital earlier this week, a spokesperson for the facility confirmed on Thursday.

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Abby Zwermer, 25, a first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School, was shot in the chest on Jan. 6 after the bullet passed through one of her hands, Newport News Chief of Police Steve Drew told reporters last week.

Police have not identified the first-grade student they said was responsible, CNN reported.

“Abby was released earlier this week from Riverside Regional Medical Center, a Riverside Health System facility in Newport News, VA,” hospital spokesperson Angela Arcieri said in a statement, according to WAVY-TV. “She continues her recovery as an outpatient with the support of family, friends and health professionals. The Zwerner family respectfully asks for privacy during this time.”

Officials originally said the shooting was not accidental, according to WVEC-TV. No other students were injured.

The family of the boy accused of shooting Zwermer released a statement on Thursday, according to CNN. Family members praised Zwermer and added that the boy has an acute disability.

“Our heart goes out to our son’s teacher and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school,” the family said in the statement, released by attorney James Ellenson, CNN reported. “Our son suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.

“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”

It was unclear how the child gained access to the weapon, which he brought to school in his backpack, CNN reported.

The weapon was legally bought by the boy’s mother, who could face charges after the investigation is concluded, the news outlet reported.

Richneck Elementary has remained closed since the shooting. On Thursday, interim Principal Karen Lynch said there will be a date for students to begin transitioning back into the building, WAVY reported. She added that an announcement would be made next week.

The next semester begins on Jan. 30.

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