Teacher shot, 6-year-old in custody after classroom altercation: Police

Sunday, January 8, 2023

A teacher was injured in a shooting at an elementary school after a 6-year-old student opened fire during an altercation in Virginia on Friday, police and school officials said, as the community grapples with the shocking incident.

The unidentified victim, described as a woman in her 30s, was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. The teacher was listed in stable condition as of Saturday afternoon, police said.

No students were injured in the shooting, which occurred in a first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, police and school officials said.

The unidentified suspect is in custody, Newport News Public Schools said in a statement, adding, "All of the students are safe."

The incident took place during an altercation between the teacher and the student, police said without providing more details.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew told reporters Friday evening that the incident was "not an accidental shooting," and it didn't appear that the student and teacher knew each other beyond the classroom environment.

Drew said officials are looking into how the student obtained the handgun used in the incident.

A representative for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told ABC News the agency is assisting in the investigation by tracing the firearm that was recovered on the scene.

The shooting was reported around 2 p.m. inside the school, Drew told reporters.

"We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting," Drew said. "We have a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired."

Drew called the response from the school's faculty and staff "heroic" in moving the students to the gymnasium and keeping everyone calm.

Newport News is located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area in southeastern Virginia, near Norfolk.

Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones was on the scene Friday afternoon and said he would be staying overnight at the hospital.

"It's been a long day for a lot of people, but at the end of the day the children's safety is our top priority," he told reporters.

One parent said her "heart stopped" when she heard the news of a shooting at her 9-year-old son's school.

"I was freaking out, very nervous, just wondering, was that one person my son," she said. "But he's OK."

Newport News Public Schools Superintendent Dr. George Parker said more needs to be done to stop gun violence in schools.

"I'm sounding like a broken record today because I keep reiterating that we need to keep guns out of the hands of our young people," he told reporters.

The school will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, the district said.

"We are deeply saddened by the events at Richneck Elementary School," Newport News Schools tweeted Saturday. "Our hearts our with our Richneck family during this difficult time."

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said his administration has offered assistance in response to the shooting.

Mayor Jones said in a statement Saturday that police are "working diligently to get an answer to the question we are all asking -- how did this happen?"

"We are also working to ensure the child receives the supports and services he needs as we continue to process what took place," he added.

ABC News' Jianna Cousin, Beatrice Peterson and Benjamin Siu contributed to this report.

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