Boy Who Shot Teacher Had an Acute Disability, Family Statement Says Gun Was Secured

The six-year-old who shot his teacher in Newport News, Virginia, has an acute disability that usually prompted one of his parents to accompany him in class.

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.”

Family attorney James Elleson said the boy’s parents had been accompanying him to class for a number of weeks. He said he believes that a parent would sit with him during class “on occasion.”

“And then I guess it was a joint decision between the school and the parents that this was no longer necessary,” Ellenson said.

“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” said the family, which was not identified. “The firearm our son accessed was secured.”

Ellenson told The Associated Press by phone Thursday evening that his understanding is that the gun was in the mother’s closet on a top shelf that was well over six feet high. The weapon also had a trigger lock that requires a key, similar to a bike lock.

Ellenson also said they do not know how the boy accessed the gun.

Police have 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 a $2,500 fine.

AP News