The gun used by a six-year-old boy to shoot a Virginia elementary school teacher was “secured” his family has said in their first statement on the shocking incident.
A lawyer for the family said that the youngster suffers from “an acute disability” and normally has one of his parents with him in the classroom, although not on the day of the shooting.
Abby Zwerner, 25, was shot while teaching her first-grade class at Richneck Elementary School in Virginia earlier this month. She has now been released from the hospital and will continue with outpatient. Treatment, according to The Associated Press.
“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” said the unidentified family in a statement. “The firearm our son accessed was secured.”
Attorney James Ellenson told the news organisation that the gun was stored on a top shelf that is over 6ft high, inside a closet. He added that the 9mm handgun also has a trigger lock on it.
When asked how the boy had got hold of the weapon, Mr Ellenson said: “We don’t know.”
The family said in the statement that the boy was “under a care plan at the school”, and added, “We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”
The family did not offer any further details on the nature of the disability or the care plan at the school. When asked if the disability was intellectual or behavioural, Mr Ellenson told AP it was “all of the above.”
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew has said that the investigation is ongoing but that no charges have been brought against the boy’s parents.
It is a misdemeanour in Virginia to leave a loaded gun accessible to a child under the age of 14.