Virginia’s teacher shot by a 6-year-old student spoke publicly for the first time this week and described the moment she thought she was dead.
In a meeting With the “Today” show airing on Tuesday, first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner described the haunting seconds before her student shot her in January.
“There are things I will never forget. And I’ll never forget the look he gave me as he aimed his gun directly at me. she says of the incident at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va. “It’s something I will never forget. It changed me. It changed my life.
Zwerner told “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie that she has since learned that she probably only survived the shooting because she raised her hand to the child, which means the bullet passed through her hand before hitting her in the chest.
What happened next is still a ‘blur’, Zwerner said, but she remembers dragging her children out of the classroom and into the school office as she began to lose knowledge, not knowing that her lung had collapsed and she was becoming incapacitated. breathe.
“I remember going to the office and passing out,” she said. “I thought I was dead.”
The circumstances surrounding the shooting have drawn national attention, with gun control advocates pointing to multiple failures leading to Zwerner’s near death. Police confirmed that the gun used by the child belonged to his mother, who obtained it legally. It’s unclear how the boy got access to the gun, but Virginia no laws requiring firearms to be stored in a specific way. His parents said the gun was secure.
Several teachers also raised concerns about the child’s destructive behavior with school administrators and warned that he may have had a gun on him that day, but the school was unsuccessful locate it and take it from him.
Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, told “Today” that she plans to file a lawsuit on her client’s behalf in the coming weeks.
“I can tell you that there were failures on many levels in this case, and there were adults in positions of authority who could have prevented this tragedy from happening and did not.” , said Toscano.
The Newport News prosecutor said earlier this month that he won’t complain against the child.
The boy’s parents expressed support for Zwerner and praised her handling of the situation.
“Our hearts go out to our son’s teacher and we pray for her recovery following such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the school children,” parents said in january.