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JMU identifies teacher shot in Newport News as an alumna of their school

Also, on Saturday afternoon, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said her condition has improved and is currently stable.
Credit: NNPD

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — James Madison University has confirmed that the teacher shot by a 6-year-old student Friday is an alumna of their school. They said her name is Abby Zwerner.

In their statement, attributed to President Jonathan R. Alger, they said: "All of us at James Madison University are deeply saddened by the reported tragic shooting of JMU alumna Abby Zwerner. We offer prayers and best wishes for Abby's health and recovery and want to do all we can to support Abby, her family and friends, fellow teachers and current students and their families at this incredibly difficult time. JMU is prepared to support those impacted by this incident now and in the weeks to come." 

A message of support for JMU graduate Abby Zwerner from President Alger on behalf of the JMU community.

Posted by James Madison University on Saturday, January 7, 2023

Also, on Saturday afternoon, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said he had met with the victim and her family, and that she has improved and is currently listed in stable condition.

Ms. Zwerner was shot in the abdomen Friday by a 6-year-old student who had brought a gun to school. She was initially listed in critical condition. 

The 6-year-old is in custody, but it's unclear what consequences they might face because of their age.

Also on Saturday, Newport News Mayor Phillip D. Jones released a statement:

"Newport News is a strong community, but we are saddened and disheartened by the terrible tragedy that took place at Richneck Elementary School. It is almost impossible to wrap our minds around the fact that a 6 year old 1st grader brought a loaded handgun to school and shot a teacher; however. this is exactly what our community is grappling with today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the teacher and her family, and we are hopeful that she will recover from this ordeal.

"This Is still an active investigation. and the Newport News Police Departrnent is 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.

"I am extremely proud of all of our public servants - police officers, sheriff's deputies, teachers and other school staff, fire personnel, etc - who acted quickly to secure the scene, protect the children and get them reunited with their parents. They worked together seamlessly. and it is a result of these extraordinary efforts that we were able to ensure the safety of thee school and the community."

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