The family of a 6-year-old boy who shot a teacher in a first-grade classroom earlier this month said in a statement to NBC Thursday the gun used in the incident was stored securely. File Photo by David Becker/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The family of a 6-year-old boy who shot a teacher in a first-grade classroom earlier this month said Thursday the gun used in the incident was stored securely.
Breaking its silence for the first time since the Jan. 6 incident, the boy's family issued a statement to NBC through an attorney saying its thoughts are with teacher Abigail Zwerner. The statement also said the child suffers from an "acute disability."
"Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children. The firearm our son accessed was secured," the statement, provided by Virginia attorney James Ellenson.
"Our heart goes out to our son's teacher and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school," the statement says. "She has worked diligently and compassionately to support our family as we sought the best education and learning environment for our son. We thank her for her courage, grace and sacrifice. We grieve alongside all of the other teachers, families and administrators for how this horrific incident has impacted them, our community, and the nation."
The child also suffers from a disability, according to the statement, which was obtained by NBC.
"Our son suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day. Additionally, our son has benefitted from an extensive community of care that also includes his grandparents working alongside us and other caregivers to ensure his needs and accommodations are met," the statement reads.
"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."
Zwerner, 25, was critically wounded in front of a class of 20 students. She remains in stable condition, according to the most recent update from police.
The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, was originally taken into custody after the single shot was fired inside Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va.
Three days later, authorities confirmed he was getting treatment at a local medical facility, without specifying details.
Investigators later revealed the child's mother legally purchased the 9 mm Taurus handgun used in the shooting.
Neither the family nor investigators have elaborated on how the child was able to get possession of the gun, which he carried to school in his backpack.