Newport News, Virginia: Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn announced on Wednesday, March 8, that the 6-year-old who shot 25-year-old Abby Zwerner in January, will not be charged with aggravated assault.
Gwynn stated that while a determination has not yet been made as to whether or not anyone else will be charged, he did state that any other charges would likely result from either a grand jury or consultation with police.
Gwynn explained that the "prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic" given that he would be too young to understand the gravity of the charge against him, would not understand the legal proceedings and would also not be able to assist an attorney with his defense.
"Our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible," Gwynn continued. "Once we analyze all the facts, we will charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime."
As a result of the shooting, Abby spent two weeks in a hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to her hand and chest.
The shooting resulted in the removal of the Richneck Elementary School superintendent and assistant principal as well as the installation of metal detectors.
Diane Toscano, an attorney representing Abby, stated in a press conference that the child was known to the school to have behavioral issues and stated that the shooting was "entirely preventable" if only the school administration "had taken action when they had knowledge of imminent danger."
Within a notice of intent to sue which was delivered to the school district, the boy had been given a one-day suspension for breaking Abby's cell phone. It was on his first day back to school following that suspension that the shooting took place.
In a statement released by the family following the shooting, it was disclosed that the boy has an "acute disability" and was receiving care "that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day." When the shooting took place, neither parent was with him in the classroom.
In the days following the shooting, the child was placed in hospital care and was reported to be receiving "the treatment he needs."
- That the boy would continue to receive the treatment he needs and ultimately, would repent
- For the continued healing of Abby and the students that were witnesses
- For the boy's family