Young student at school where first grader shot his teacher in the class with a gun comforted others
A young student studying at the Virginia school where a six-year-old boy shot his teacher in the chest with a pistol has spoken of the moment he heard gunshots that sent his class into hiding.
Mark Garcia Jr., who is eight years old and in the second grade, said his teacher heard the shots coming from the hallway and immediately made the class quiet in case there was a shooter at the scene.
‘When it happened, the teacher heard it coming from the first grade class. We were walking back to our room and when we got there we all fell silent.
Garcia Jr. said CNN who managed to remain calm and even tried to comfort others around him.
An eight-year-old student from Richneck Elementary School in Virginia, Mark Garcia Jr. shared his experience of the shooting that occurred at school last week.
‘Two people were crying. I went to help them. When the police arrived, they took us to the gym and then we were all safe.
Mark’s father, Mark Anthony Garcia, said he ran to the school when he heard about the shooting.
“There were police helicopters everywhere outside, traffic was backed up. Then there was a two-mile radius cordoned off of parked cars and people running, trying to get to the scene.
Richneck Elementary will remain closed this entire week as the school and community continue to discuss ways to navigate through the crisis.
Garcia said local parents had raised concerns prior to the incident.
‘We’ve talked to the principal, we’ve talked to the school counselor, we’ve been to town hall meetings, we’ve zoomed, what else are we supposed to do?’ he said.
As a veteran, Garcia said what happened at the school was the failure of multiple security measures, including metal detectors, of which he says the school has only one located in the library.
Mark’s father, Mark Anthony Garcia Sr., left, said he ran to the school when he heard about the shooting.
Teacher Abby Zwerner, 25, is in stable condition after the life-threatening attack on Friday. She was shot at point blank range and the bullet went through her hand and through her chest.
Earlier Monday news broke how the boy responsible for shooting his teacher had stolen his mother’s gun from her home before putting it in her backpack and taking it to class.
He had purchased it legally in York County and kept it at his home. It is not known why the firearm was not locked up.
The Richneck Elementary School student, whose name is not being released, is now being held at a medical center where professionals continue to evaluate him psychologically.
Teacher Abby Zwerner, 25, is in stable condition after the life-threatening attack on Friday. She was shot at point blank range when the bullet passed through her hand and entered her chest.
She was giving instructions to her first grade class when the boy pulled the gun out of his backpack and shot her. Police have confirmed that the attack was deliberate and not accidental.
Zwerner was “providing classroom instruction when a six-year-old girl displayed a firearm, pointed it and fired a round,” Chief Drew said at a news conference. “There was no physical wrestling or fighting.”
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said Monday afternoon that more data still needs to be collected before the department can determine if charges will be filed against the boy’s mother.
Mark Garcia Jr., a second grader, described how his teacher heard the gunshots and quickly had the class go quiet and hide.
Zwerner was shot at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News around 2 p.m. Friday.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said at a news conference that the boy fired a bullet, which went through the teacher’s hand and then through his chest.
Drew also revealed that Zwerner made sure all the kids in her class were safe and out of the classroom before trying to find help for her.
She said that the teacher’s first question when she visited her was ‘do you know what my students are like’.
The ‘combatant’ six-year-old boy was physically detained by another school employee following the terrifying shooting whom he then punched, police confirmed.
When officers arrived at the scene, they placed the boy in a police car and then interviewed him and his mother.
The ‘combatant’ six-year-old boy was physically detained by another school employee after the shooting, whom he then punched, police confirmed.
The teacher has been hailed as a hero in the local community.
Police have not released any details about the boy or his parents, but said further interviews and investigations are underway.
The six-year-old boy will appear before a judge in the coming days.
“It’s a very difficult thing to process,” Newport News Mayor Philip Jones said Sunday. “The fact that we have a 6-year-old with the ability to bring a gun to school and harm his teacher, something we’re still dealing with.
“There are many questions that we have to answer as a community,” added the mayor. ‘Let’s see, how could a 6-year-old have a gun, know how to use it in such a deliberate way… Responsible individuals will be responsible. I can promise it.
Meanwhile, a grandfather of a student at the school claimed that the week before the attack, a boy brought “bright gold bullets” and told his class and teacher that he was thinking of bringing a gun.
It is not clear if the student described by the grandfather is the same one who shot Zwerner.
Speaking to DailyMail.com, the grandmother said: ‘Parents outside said their son told them a boy brought shiny gold bullets to school and was thinking of bringing his gun. The student told the parent, who informed the school.
“And yesterday the school responded to the parent saying the child’s parent said it was a nerf bullet and the parent said nerf bullets aren’t shiny and gold.”
Zwerner was reportedly trying to confiscate the little girl’s gun when he shot her. Police said they were working to determine why she shot her teacher.
Dr. James Fedderman, president of the Virginia Education Association, said the problem will only get worse if students’ mental health needs aren’t met soon.
“We’re going to see an increase in crime in our schools and we really need to take charge and do something about it,” he said, adding that schools currently lack the capacity to address the “socio-emotional needs of our students.”
Lawonda Sample-Rusk, a grandmother who was at school early Friday to pick up her two grandchildren, helped render aid to the injured Zwerner.
Rusk told a local news outlet WKTR that he heard Zwerner yell ‘They’re shooting at me, they’re shooting at me’. He calls 911.’
At first, she and the school receptionist thought that Rusk had just been injured in her hand, but then he “passed out on the floor”.
Richneck Elementary will remain closed this week as administrative leaders continue to think about how to get students through the trauma experienced Friday.
Lawonda Sample-Rusk told a local outlet how she responded to the shooting of 25-year-old teacher Abby Zwerner.
Rusk and the receptionist stayed with Zwerner and helped put pressure on the wound while other administrators led the young students to designated safe areas.
The terrifying incident on Friday led Rusk to the area’s second annual Stop the Violence rally.
Concerned residents, community activists and city leaders came together to share concerns about the safety of the community in the aftermath of the shooting.
So far, police have refused to comment on what, if any, contacts they have had with Zwerner.