The Virginia teacher, who was shot by her 6-year-old student in her classroom, is now awake and speaking with her family days after the life-threatening attack.
Abby Zwerner, 25, was shot on Friday while working at Richneck Elementary School in what police confirmed was ‘not an accidental shooting’ – but they are yet to release more information about the child involved.
Meanwhile, a grandparent of a student at the school claimed that the week prior to the attack, one child brought in ‘shiny gold bullets’ and told his class and teacher he was thinking about bringing in a gun.
It is not clear if the student described by the grandparent is the same one who shot Zwerner in the abdomen at point-blank range.
Zwerner was shot in the abdomen at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News around 2pm on Friday
Speaking to DailyMail.com, the grandmother said: ‘The parents outside stated that their child told them a kid brought golden shiny bullets to school and was thinking about bringing his gun. The student told the parent, who informed the school.
‘And the school just yesterday got back to the parent saying the parent of the kid said it was a nerf bullet and the parent said nerf bullets aren’t shiny and gold.’
Zwerner was reportedly attempting to confiscate the gun from the young child when he shot her. Police said they were working to determine how the child got the weapon and why he shot his teacher.
Richneck is remaining closed through Friday of this week as the school and community continue to ponder ways to get students through this crisis.
One parent, Mark Anthony Garcia, whose young son attends Richneck, told CNN that the entire incident is a safety system failure of the education apparatus.
He said that local parents have raised prior concerns to no avail.
‘We’ve talked to the principal, we’ve talked to the guidance counselor, we’ve went to town hall meetings, we spoke on zooms, what else are we supposed to do?’ he said.
As a veteran, Garcia said that what happened at the school was the failure of multiple security measures, including metal detectors, of which he says the school has just one in the library.
Garcia’s son, Mark Jr., told CNN that just after the shooting, which he heard from his nearby classroom, ‘we all stayed quiet.’
‘Two people were crying,’ he said.
One key question, Mark Sr. said, is understanding if there were any issues in the classroom in the past.
Dr. James Fedderman, President of the Virginia Education Association, said the problem is only going to get worse if the mental health needs of students are not met soon.
‘We’re going to see an increase in crime in our schools and we really needs to take the reins and do something about it,’ he said, adding that schools do not currently have the capacity to address the ‘social-emotional needs of our students.’
Richneck Elementary will remain closed this week as administrative leaders continue to think through how to move students past the trauma experienced Friday
Lawonda Sample-Rusk told a local outlet how she responded to the shooting of 25-year-old teacher Abby Zwerner
Lawonda Sample-Rusk, a grandmother who was at the school early on Friday to pick up her two grandchildren, helped render aid to the wounded Zwerner.
Rusk told local news outlet WKTR that she heard Zwerner cry out ‘I’m shot, I’m shot. Call 911.’
She and the school receptionist at first thought Rusk had just been wounded on her hand, but then she ‘passed out on the floor.’
Rusk and the receptionist stayed with Zwerner and helped put pressure on the wound while other administrators herded young students to designated safe zones.
The terrifying Friday incident led Rusk to the area’s second annual Stop the Violence Rally.
Concerned residents, community activists and city leaders came together to share concerns about community safety following the shooting.
Police have so far declined to comment on what, if any, contact they’ve had with Zwerner.