RICHMOND, Va. — A 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot and wounded his first-grade teacher constantly cursed at staff and teachers, tried to whip students with his belt and once choked another teacher “until she couldn’t breathe,” according to a legal notice filed by an attorney for the wounded teacher.
The choking incident described in the notice was confirmed by that teacher. She said that in 2021, the boy came up behind her as she sat in a chair in the front of the class, locked his forearms in front of her neck and pulled back and down, hard. She said a teaching assistant pulled the boy off her.
Two days before the shooting, the boy allegedly “slammed” Zwerner’s cellphone and broke it, according to the claim notice. He was given a one-day suspension, but when he returned to Zwerner’s class the following day, he pulled a 9mm handgun out of his pocket and shot her while she sat at a reading table, the notice says.
The document says that several hours before the shooting, at least three teachers and staff members warned school administrators they believed the boy had brought a gun to school. The boy’s backpack was searched but no gun was found, and administrators did not remove the boy from class, lock down the school or call police.
The claim notice says Zwerner went to former Assistant Principal Ebony Parker’s office at about 11:15 a.m. that day “to advise her that the shooter seemed more ‘off’ than usual and was in a violent mood.” It also says the boy had threatened to beat up a kindergarten student and “angrily stared down” the school security officer in the lunch room.
The document describes several more warnings Parker allegedly was given by staff members about the boy having a gun. “Assistant Principal Parker should have called police, instead she did not follow proper protocol and chose to do absolutely nothing,” the claim notice says.
Parker resigned last month.
The gun belonged to the boy’s mother and was legally purchased.