The parents of a 6-year-old boy in Virginia who shot his first-grade teacher in class earlier this month are speaking out about their son and the violent incident, saying they were responsible gun owners who kept firearms out of children’s reach.
“The firearm our son accessed was secured,” the parents said in a statement to BuzzFeed News via their attorney, James Ellenson. The statement didn’t explain how the child gained access to the weapon and managed to bring it to school.
The gun had been legally purchased by the child’s mother, police have said. Newport News police Chief Steve Drew told CNN earlier that charging the parents “is certainly a possibility.”
The parents said the boy who shot teacher Abby Zwerner has an “acute disability” and was under a care plan that required at least one of his parents to be in his classroom every day.
The shooting happened during the first week neither parent accompanied the child in class, according to the statement.
“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the parents said.
The parents also expressed sympathy for Zwerner, 25, who was released from the hospital Thursday, according to Norfolk CBS affiliate WTKR-TV. .
“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 parents said.
Zwerner, a first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, was shot in the chest and hand by the student on Jan. 6 after he pulled a handgun from a backpack during class, police said.
A GoFundMe account in Zwerner’s name has raised more than $228,000 for medical expenses.