Teacher Abby Zwirner, who was shot and killed by a 6-year-old schoolboy in the US, is “showing signs of improvement.”
Ms Zwerner, in her 30s, was seriously injured after being hit boy shoots in class During an altercation on Friday — which, according to police, was no accident.
Philip Jones, the mayor of Newport News, Virginia, where the incident took place, described it as “a red flag for the country.”
The Richneck Elementary school teacher remains in hospital and her condition is “moving in a positive direction”, he said.
US gun violence: 863 killed in just two weeks
Ms. Zwerner is a 2020 graduate of James Madison University in Virginia. In a statement, the principal of the school said they were “deeply saddened by this tragic event”, describing it as “an extremely difficult time”.
Police initially said the teacher’s injuries were “life-threatening”, but said a senior police officer met with her on Saturday and “she has recovered and is in a stable condition”.
Chief Steve Drew said the shooting did not appear to be an accident and was an isolated single victim. He said the student and teacher knew each other in class.
“We haven’t had a situation where someone has gotten around a school shooting,” he told reporters.
He said the boy had a handgun in the classroom and investigators were trying to figure out where he got it.
“I do think that after this incident there will be a national discussion about how to prevent things like this from happening,” Mr Jones said.
“I’m in awe, I’m shocked, I’m devastated,” said Newport News Public Schools Superintendent George Parker III.
The boy was too young to stand trial
Richneck will not be in class on Monday, school officials said.
Virginia law does not allow six-year-olds to be tried as adults.
Additionally, a six-year-old is too young to be placed in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Department if convicted.
However, juvenile judges will have the power to revoke parental custody and place the child under the jurisdiction of the Department of Social Services.
Mr Jones would not reveal where the boy was being held, but added: “We are making sure he has all the services he needs at this time.”
An angry British mother who lives in the area told reporters outside the school that it was time for a change.
“Let’s do something. Let’s change it.
“You have a beautiful country, you have beautiful people, but what’s the problem? Guns!” she said.
“I’m only here because my husband is in the military, otherwise I wouldn’t be in this country.”
Toddlers getting guns ‘on the rise’
Daniel Webster, a professor who studies gun violence at Johns Hopkins University, said it was highly unusual for a 6-year-old to shoot a teacher at school.
But he said his research showed an increase in young children using loaded firearms in the home and other settings and inadvertently shooting themselves or others.
“Sadly, it’s not uncommon for a six-year-old to get a loaded gun and shoot himself or someone else,” he said.
“That’s not something the legal system is really designed or prepared to deal with,” said David Riedman, a researcher who created a database of US school shootings going back to 1970.
He said he was only aware of three other shootings involving 6-year-old students during the time period he studied; the shooting of a classmate in Michigan in 2000, Texas in 2011 and Mississippi in 2021 Other students were injured in the shooting in the state.
Mr. Riedman said he was only aware of one other school shooting involving students younger than him, including a five-year-old who brought a gun to a Tennessee school in 2013 and accidentally opened fire.
No one was injured in that case.