Abby Zwerner, 25, took a bullet to the chest after the six-year-old boy reportedly pulled out a handgun in the classroom. The teacher was moments away from taking the gun away when she was shot, according to the Daily Mail.
The class had just finished reading a story together and were just about to begin an art class when the youngster pulled out the weapon.
"She was going to confiscate it, and that's when he shot," Brittaney Gregory, the mother of one of the shooter's classmates, told the Washington Post.
As she fell to the ground immediately following being shot, Zwerner reportedly begged her children to run away.
The teacher was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, and is said to be in serious but stable condition.
Due to the boy's age, it is unlikely that he's ever going to be charged with a crime.
"As a practical matter, it would be next to impossible to prosecute a six-year-old, no matter how serious," said Andrew Block, associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
"The bigger barrier, presuming the prosecution could overcome that, is all defendants have to be competent to stand trial," he said. "That means you have to understand the nature of legal proceedings against you and assist in your own defense. There's no way a six-year-old would meet that criteria. The juvenile justice system would not be equipped to handle such a young kid."
An adult could be charged under Virginia law, which requires that guns be kept in a secure location and inaccessible to children under the age of 14.
The six-year-old remains in police custody. It remains unclear how he came to be in possession of the handgun.
"There's way more we don't know than we do," Block said. "I can't imagine what it's like to be the teacher or teacher's family; it's horrible in every single direction."
According to Gregory, Zwerner was her son's favorite teacher, describing her as bubbly and outgoing.
"She's such a sweet lady," Gregory explained. "She's very attentive to the kids."
She described how her son has had nightmares since the incident unfolded on Friday afternoon.
"He normally sleeps in his own room but the night of the shooting he came into my room. He was talking in his sleep, saying we got to get out of here," she said.
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