A US teacher was left with life-threatening injuries after being shot by a six-year-old child at school, authorities have said.
The first-grade teacher, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner, was shot at Richneck Elementary School in Virginia on Friday.
Shortly after the shooting, police said Ms Zwerner had life-threatening injuries, but she has improved and was listed in stable condition at a local hospital.
Police chief Steve Drew said the boy shot and wounded the teacher with a handgun in a first-year classroom. He was later taken into police custody.
Mr Drew said the shooting was not accidental and was part of an altercation. No students were injured.
City officials met teachers and the principal at the school on Friday and later went to the hospital, where they met with members of Zwerner’s family, including several aunts who also are teachers.
“The family was all educators and said she was excited about doing the job,” said Mr John Eley III, a former member of the Newport News School Board.
“The custodians and other teachers spoke about how she’s a good teammate, she’s a team player, she loves her children, she’s just an all-around good teacher,” he added.
Police have declined to describe what led to the altercation or any other details about what happened in the classroom, citing the ongoing investigation.
They have also declined to say how the boy got access to the gun or who owns the weapon.
Virginia law does not allow six-year-olds to be tried as adults – additionally, a six-year-old is too young to be committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if found guilty.
A juvenile judge would have authority, though, to revoke a parent’s custody and place a child under the purview of the Department of Social Services.
Mayor Phillip Jones would not say where the boy is being held.
“We are ensuring he has all the services that he currently needs right now,” Jones said Saturday.
Richneck has about 550 students in kindergarten through to fifth grade, according to the Virginia Department of Education’s website. School classes on Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled.