Less than three weeks ago Abigail Zwerner was preparing for a routine day teaching her elementary school class. That day turned out to be one of the worst days she, or any other teacher, could imagine. Zwerner was shot by one of her 6-year-old students.
Reports say that Zwerner told the children in her class to "run away" after she was shot by the student. The boy is not being identified because of his age and the state of Virginia prevents six-year-olds being tried as adults. And the child would also be too young to be committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if found guilty.
Zwerner, who was shot in the chest, has survived and is planning to sue the school district because, according to her lawyer, the school had been warned about this child.
"This should have never happened. It was preventable and thank God Abby is alive. But had the school administrators acted in the interest of their teachers and their students, Abby would not have sustained a gunshot wound to the chest," Diane Toscano, Zwerner's lawyer, said at a press conference Wednesday.
According to ABC, Toscano revealed new details about the events leading up to the shooting, alleging that school administration was warned that the student had a gun with him at school and had threatened people several times the day of the shooting, but school administrators took no action.
Toscano alleged that the administration was warned four times by teachers and school employees about the student.
Zwerner's lawyer also revealed that another teacher went into the classroom after she was shot and restrained the shooter until police arrived. This teacher was also assaulted by the boy before he was taken into custody.
Toscano laid out a timeline of events the day of the shooting:
At around 11:15 to 11:30 a.m., Zwerner went to a school administrator and told them that the 6-year-old had threatened to beat up another child that day. The administration did not take action or remove the student from the classroom, according to Toscano.
At 12:30 p.m. a teacher told a school administrator she searched the 6-year-old's backpack for a gun and told the administration that she believed the boy put the gun in his pocket before going outside for recess. The administrator downplayed the report and responded that the boy has little pockets, according to Toscano.
Shortly after 1 p.m., a third teacher told administrators that another student who was scared and crying confessed that the shooter showed him a gun at recess and threatened to shoot him if he told anyone, according to Toscano.
A fourth employee asked the administrator for permission to search the boy but was denied and was told to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over, according to Toscano.
Zwerner was shot almost an hour later, according to Toscano.
Zwerner has since been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home. The bullet remains lodged inside her body.
"On behalf of the family of the child, we continue to pray for Ms. Zwerner and wish her a complete and full recovery. Our hearts go out to all involved," James Ellenson, an attorney for the family of the 6-year-old who allegedly shot Zwerner, said in a statement in response to Toscano's remarks.
An unnamed family of the boy released a statement last week, saying the "firearm our son accessed was secured" and that he "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day."
"The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives," the family said. "Since this incident, our son has been under hospital care and receiving the treatment he needs."
This investigation is ongoing and there has been no word yet on what punishment, if any, the boy will face.