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Lawyer: Gun used by child who shot teacher was ‘secured’

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — The family of a 6-year-old boy who shot and wounded his teacher in Virginia said Thursday that the gun he used had been “secured.”

The family’s statement was released by an attorney and did not elaborate further on where the 9mm handgun was kept. The family also was not identified.

“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” the statement said. “The firearm our son accessed was secured.”

The family also said that the boy “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 family said 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 statement was released through the office of Newport News-based attorney James S. Ellenson.

The shooting occurred Jan. 6 as teacher Abigail Zwerner taught her first grade class at Richneck Elementary in Newport News.

The bullet pierced Zwerner’s hand and struck her chest. The 25-year-old teacher hustled her students out of the classroom before being rushed to the hospital.

Newport News police had said that the 6-year-old’s mother legally purchased the gun but that it was unclear how her son gained access to it.

A Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child under 14, a misdemeanor crime punishable with a maximum one-year prison sentence and $2,500 fine. No charges have been brought against the mother so far.

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