The young boy has been identified as the suspect in a shooting allegedly done “on purpose”.
A 6-year-old boy in Newport News, Virginia, has reportedly shot and injured his elementary school teacher, putting her in the hospital with life-threatening injuries in an attack that police say was not an accident.
The shooting occurred on Friday afternoon at the Richneck Elementary School. Newport News police chief Steve Drew confirmed to reporters that the suspect was a 6-year-old boy. No one other than the boy’s teacher was injured, but police tactical teams entered the building in case the shooter still posed a threat.
The boy was involved in “an altercation” with his teacher before shooting her with a handgun, Drew said. He’s in police custody. The teacher was identified only as a woman in her 30s.
“We believe that once we walked in and had the information we had coming in (the school), we had the individual in custody,” Drew told reporters at a briefing outside the school. “We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting. We had a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired.”
Police offered no further explanation about the altercation; nor did they say how the boy was able to obtain a handgun and bring it to school.
A classmate of the unidentified suspect, a 6-year-old girl, told a Newport News Daily Press reporter that she witnessed the shooting. The female teacher was shot in the stomach area “on purpose,” she said, and the teacher “fell to her knees.”
Richneck Elementary has more than 550 students. According to National Center for Education Statistics data, 84% of the students come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free lunches. The school’s ratio of students to teachers is 57% higher than the state average.
Friday’s shooting came just three days after classes resumed at Richneck following the holiday break. US school shootings surged to an historic high last year, with 51 incidents that resulted in injuries or deaths.
The youngest shooter to kill someone in a US school shooting was a 6-year-old Michigan boy who fatally shot a female classmate in February 2000.