Virginia first-grader who shot teacher choked another instructor, court filing alleges

The 6-year-old boy cursed at school staffers and tried to use his belt to whip students, the filing also states.

Updated: February 7, 2023 - 2:09pm

The 6-year-old Virginia student who allegedly shot his first-grade teacher had a history of abusing staff and students and even choked another teacher "until she couldn’t breathe," according to a legal filing from the attorney for wounded teacher Abby Zwerner.

In a notice to the Newport News school district about the teacher's intent to sue over the Jan. 6 incident at Richneck Elementary School, Zwerner's attorney Diane Toscano detailed the student's previous troubling incidents, the Associated Press reported Monday.

According to the filing, in 2021, the student came up behind a teacher sitting in class, locked his arms in front of her neck and forcefully pulled down until a teaching assistant pulled him off of her. The teacher confirmed the events in the filing to the wire service and asked to remain anonymous out of fear the school district could retaliate.

"I didn’t feel safe the rest of the year because I knew if they didn’t protect me when he choked me and I couldn’t breathe, then they wouldn’t protect me, my kids or my colleagues if he did something not as harmful," she said.

The district later transferred the student to another school.

The 6-year-old boy cursed at school staffers and tried to use his belt to whip students, the filing also states.

Staffers warned school administrators numerous times the day of the shooting that the student had a gun, Toscano said last month when she announced Zwerner's intent to sue.

The child's parents said that their son has a disability, and police said the child was taken to a medical facility after the incident.