UNITED STATES NEWS

Attorney: Mom of Virginia boy who shot teacher was depressed

Apr 14, 2023, 8:46 AM

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — The mother of a 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot and wounded his teacher had a series of miscarriages and post-partum depression in the year before the shooting, her attorney said Friday, after she was arraigned on charges of child neglect and failing to secure the handgun her son used in the shooting.

Police say the boy fired a single shot at his first-grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner, on Jan. 6, striking her in the left hand and chest. She spent two weeks in the hospital and has had four surgeries since the shooting.

The Associated Press is not identifying the mother to shield the identity of her son. A grand jury indicted the mother this week, and she was released on a $5,000 bond after turning herself in Thursday.

The 25-year-old woman appeared somber and stood with her hands clasped behind her back as the two charges against her were read in Newport News Circuit Court. She did not speak except to say “no, sir” in response to a question from the judge. After the hearing, she quickly walked away from a scrum of reporters and TV cameras without commenting.

Her attorney, James Ellenson, said his client wants to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors and hopes they will consider what he called “mitigating circumstances.” He cited a number of miscarriages the woman had, including one following an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in a hospital stay in January 2022. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a pregnancy develops outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube. Ellenson said the miscarriages resulted in post-partum depression.

“We’re looking forward to working collaboratively with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to resolve the charges,” Ellenson said, adding that he is hoping for “something that is fair, something that is just.”

Ellenson has requested a trial before a judge instead of a jury. A trial date of Aug. 15 has been set.

The felony neglect charge is punishable by up to five years in prison. The misdemeanor charge of recklessly storing a firearm is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Ellenson has said the mother believed her gun, which was legally purchased, was secured on a top shelf in her closet and had a trigger lock. It is unclear how the boy got the gun and was able to take it to school on the day of the shooting.

Zwerner filed a ignoring multiple warnings from teachers and others in the hours before the shooting that the boy had a gun.

The city prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that it is investigating whether the “actions or omissions” of any school employees could lead to criminal charges.

Ellenson said the boy has an “acute disability” and was under a care plan that included his mother, father or grandfather accompanying him to class every day. The week of the shooting was the first when a parent was not in class with him.

United States News

Associated Press

Police identify Michigan splash pad shooter but there’s still no word on a motive

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities on Sunday identified the man who opened fire at a splash pad in suburban Detroit before taking his own life, but his motives remained unknown as investigators worked to determine if he left behind any hint of his plans. Oakland County Sheriff’s spokesperson Stephen Huber said the shooter was […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

7 shot when gunfire erupts at a pop-up party in Massachusetts

METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — Seven people were shot and wounded, and an eighth was hurt while running away when gunfire erupted at a large gathering of young people in Methuen, Massachusetts, authorities said Sunday. The gunfire began just before 2 a.m. after hundreds of people gathered for a pop-up party organized on social media, officials […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

An Georgia inmate used a gun to kill a prison kitchen worker before killing himself, officials say

GLENNVILLE, Ga. (AP) — An inmate used a gun to kill a kitchen worker at a Georgia prison early Sunday before fatally shooting himself, state officials said. The Georgia Department of Corrections in a statement said it’s investigating the deaths at Smith State Prison in rural southeast Georgia. The agency provided few immediate details, including […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) — A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said. The victims were shot shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday during a Juneteenth celebration at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, about 19 miles (30.5 kilometers) north of Austin. An altercation […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Wildfire north of Los Angeles spreads as authorities issue evacuation orders

GORMAN, Calif. (AP) — Authorities issued evacuation orders Saturday as a wildfire in Los Angeles County spread thousands of acres close to a major highway and threatened nearby structures, officials said. The blaze that is being called the Post Fire burned more than 3,600 acres (5.6 square miles or 14.5 square kilometers) near the Interstate […]

16 hours ago

maine-standoff...

Associated Press

Maine police kill armed man after standoff and house fires

Maine police fatally shot a man on a rooftop early Saturday after an hourslong standoff in which authorities said he opened fire at officers.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Attorney: Mom of Virginia boy who shot teacher was depressed