Prosecutors in Virginia say they will not charge the 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher in January. Image courtesy of Richneck Elementary School
March 8 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Virginia will not charge the 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher in January.
Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn told ABC News on Wednesday that it would be "problematic" to charge the child with a crime because he would not be competent to stand trial.
"I think it's problematic to assume that a 6-year-old understands the criminal justice system enough to be competent to stand trial," Gwynn told Hampton, Va., ABC affiliate WVEC.
The attorney did not rule out charging anyone else in the case. Days after the Jan. 6 shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., the Newport News Police Department determined that the child used a gun belonging to his mother to shoot his teacher, 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner.
Zwerner was injured, suffering one gunshot wound from the 9mm Taurus handgun fired by the student. A bullet went through her hand and hit her in the upper chest.
An attorney for the child's family said the gun was stored in a safe location in the home. The family, nor the attorney, have shared information about how the child obtained the weapon.
Diane Toscano, Zwerner's attorney, said school administrators ignored multiple warnings that the child brought a gun to school. One warning came after a member of the school staff was told by another child that the boy had shown them the gun during recess and threatened to shoot them.
Between 16 and 20 students were reportedly in the classroom when the shooting took place. Zwerner was seen on surveillance camera leaving the classroom after all of the students had fled to other classrooms. She made her way to the administrative office, where staff provided immediate aid while awaiting first responders. A member of the staff held the child down until deputies arrived and took him into custody.
The boy's family said he has an "acute disability," according to ABC News. His care plan at the school included his parents attending school with him but the week of the shooting was the first that they were not in attendance.
"Our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible," Gwynn said, according to NBC News. "Once we analyze all the facts, we will charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime."