6-Year-Old Shooter

by Kerry Dougherty

We’re not in the business of making predictions in this space. But with the police releasing precious few details about the near-fatal shooting of a Newport News first-grade school teacher on Friday, BY A SIX-YEAR-OLD BOY, we have a few guesses about what we will learn eventually:

This is complete speculation, but chances that this first-grade boy is the product of a stable two-parent family are slim.

Chances are he has witnessed violence, either through video games or in person, that have sadly turned him into a menace to society.

Given the tender age of the alleged perpetrator, cops are being stingy with details. Understandable. Yet the entire student body of 550 at Richneck Elementary School was terrified Friday afternoon when shots rang out. They, and the rest of the community, deserve some answers.

For instance: Where is the boy now?

Six-year-olds reportedly cannot be charged with crimes in Virginia, but they can be removed from their homes by authorities. Hopefully that happened immediately.

The question remains: What sort of home produces a 6-year-old child capable of taking a loaded gun to school and shooting his teacher?

At the very least his parent/parents/guardian should be charged with child endangerment for giving him access to a loaded firearm. And let’s hope prosecutors spent every waking minute since the shooting exploring ways to charge the adults with attempted murder and a host of gun charges.

I’m a Second Amendment supporter. That said, it is critical that loaded guns be kept out of the hands of unsupervised young children.

And no, more gun laws will not stop this sort of horrific shooting. A reckless adult allowed that kid to get his or her loaded gun and take it to school to shoot his teacher, reportedly in the chest. No law could prevent that sort of negligence.

Those of us who have spent time with normal 6-year-olds find it astonishing that a child so young was capable of such an act of blood lust after what police say was an “altercation” in his classroom.

Few details about the victim in this case have been released.

But social media contends, and the president of James Madison University appeared to confirm, that the teacher was Abby Zwerner.

Most of Abby Zwerner’s Facebook profile is private, but it appears that the pretty blonde with a radiant smile graduated from JMU in 2019. She earned a master’s degree there in 2020. She was a member of Delta Gamma sorority and has a twin sister who is also a teacher.

According to officials she is in stable condition.

We pray for her full recovery.

We also pray that someone is held responsible for the horrific injuries she suffered Friday afternoon while she was simply trying to teach a class filled with first-graders how to read.

This column first ran in Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited and is republished with permission.