shooting occurred

Gun used by child to shoot teacher was ‘secured’

By Ben Finley | Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. — The family of a 6-year-old boy who shot and wounded his teacher in Virginia said Thursday that the gun he used had been “secured” and that one of his parents usually accompanied him in class but did not the week the shooting took place .

The family’s statement was released by an attorney and did not elaborate further on where the 9mm handgun was kept. The family also was not identified.

The statement came on the same day officials announced Richneck Elementary School teacher Abby Zwerner, who was wounded in the January 6 classroom shooting, has been released from the hospital.

“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” the statement said. “The firearm our son accessed was secured.”

The family also said that the boy “suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school which included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.”

The family said the week of shooting “was the first week when we weren’t in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”

The statement was released through the office of Newport News-based attorney James S. Ellenson. It is the first public communication from the child’s family and comes nearly two weeks after the shooting occurred in Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary.

Police said earlier that the 6-year-old’s mother legally purchased the gun but that it was unclear how her son gained access to it. A Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child under 14, a misdemeanor crime punishable with a maximum one-year prison sentence and $2,500

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