The 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher during class reportedly threatened to set fire to another teacher and watch her die.
According to The Washington Post, school administrators ignored warnings that the boy was a threat to himself and others.
The boy pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot first grade teacher Abigail Zwerner at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia on Jan. 6.
The Post obtained screenshots of an online chat between school employees and Newport News Superintendent George Parker III shortly after the shooting.
The conversation shows Zwerner complained repeatedly about the 6-year-old’s behavior and she sought assistance from school officials during the school year.
“She had asked for help,” one staffer wrote, referring to Zwerner.
“several times,” another educator wrote.
“Yes she did.”
“two hours prior”
A separate message written by a Richneck teacher, and provided to The Post by the local teachers union, alleges that the boy wrote a note telling a teacher he hated her and wanted to light her on fire and watch her die.
The teacher was concerned enough to bring the note to the attention of Richneck administrators and was told to drop the matter, according to the message.
On another occasion, the boy had a fit in class and threw furniture and other items, prompting students to hide under their desks.
The teacher alleges that on a separate occasion, the boy barricaded the doors to a classroom, preventing a teacher and students from leaving.
The teacher banged on the classroom door and got the attention of another teacher across the hall who forced the door open from the outside, according to the teacher.
The spouse of a Richneck teacher and a mother whose child is enrolled in a class across the hallway from Zwerner’s said the student was known for his disruptive and violent behavior. He often walked the hallways of the school alone.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the unidentified parents said they were responsible gun owners who kept guns out of their children’s reach. The gun was purchased by the boy’s mother, who kept the firearm on a top shelf in her bedroom closet. The gun had a trigger lock that required a key.
“The firearm our son accessed was secured,” the mother said via her attorney, James Ellenson. She didn’t explain how the boy got the key.
The parents explained that the boy had an “acute” behavioral disorder and a care plan was designed to address his needs. The care plan required one of the parents to accompany the child in class every day.
The parents did not accompany the boy in class when he shot Zwerner in the chest and hand with a Taurus 9mm. Zwerner, 25, was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.
Police said the shooting was an “intentional act.” Legal experts say the boy is too young to be charged. However, Newport News police Chief Steve Drew told CNN that charging the parents “is certainly a possibility.”
“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.
“Additionally, our son has benefited from an extensive community of care that also includes his grandparents working alongside us and other caregivers to ensure his needs and accommodations are met,” the mother said. “The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”
“At the same time, we love our son and are asking that you please include him and our family in your prayers,” she added.
The mother said her son is currently in a psychiatric hospital receiving therapy.
A GoFundMe account raised over $228,000 for Zwerner’s medical expenses.