The Virginia teacher injured after a six-year-old student shot her in a classroom is speaking out for the first time since the incident.
To talk with TODAYAbigail Zwerner, 25, said she is still recovering from her horrific injuries after a young student pulled a gun in class and shot her at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, in January.
Zwerner told TODAY host Savannah Guthrie that after several surgeries in the three months since the incident, she continues to face “obstacles and challenges.”
“Some days are not so good days when I can’t get out of bed. Some days are better than others when I can get out of bed and make my appointments,” Zwerner said.
News of the shooting shocked the small community and sparked outrage in the district after it was revealed that Zwerner and other educators went to government officials to say the child was rumours to have a gun on him.
Speaking to TODAY, Abigail Zwerner, 25, said she is still recovering from her horrific injuries after a young student pulled a gun in class in January and shot her at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia
At the time, DailyMail.com reported that Zwerner was shot in the hand by the student – whose name has never been made public – and that the bullet then hit her in the chest
The 25-year-old teacher gave the interview as she appeared with her left hand bandaged following surgery to repair a bone damaged in the shooting.
At the time, DailyMail.com reported that Zwerner was shot in the hand by the student – whose name has never been made public – and that the bullet then hit her in the chest.
Zwerner told the TODAY anchor that she is recovering from several physical injuries.
One of those injuries is a wound on her side where doctors inserted a breathing tube after her lung collapsed.
The teacher – who was hailed as a hero for saving other students in her class from the child – told Guthrie she was exhausted from the constant series of surgeries and appointments.
“But you know, I try to stay positive because I’ve been through what I’ve been through,” said Zwerner, who spent two weeks in the hospital after being shot.
Zwerner now says she has difficulty with simple tasks such as making a fist, getting dressed and opening her own water bottle.
Her doctors have told her it is unclear if she will ever regain normal function in her left hand. She continues to attend physical therapy, which she says is “exhausting.”
‘Physiotherapy is not only physically exhausting, but also mentally exhausting. I should move them once an hour, all through the hour,” she said.
“Just manipulating them to get that blood flowing and get that movement back under control,” Zwerner said of what to do with her hand.
Despite her “obstacles and struggles,” the teacher told Guthrie that she is hopeful for the future.
“You know, try to have a positive view of what happened and where my future is going,” the teacher said in the interview, that will air Tuesday at 7 p.m. east.
Zwerner was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center after the shooting
“You know, try to have a positive view of what happened and where my future is going,” the teacher said in the interview with TODAY
Since the shooting, Zwerner has hired lawyers to sue the district.
Zwerner and her legal team claim that there were “multiple levels” of safety protocol errors and that the administration had been warned about the child in question.
“I can tell you that this case has failed on multiple levels, and there were adults who held positions of authority who could have prevented this tragedy and did not,” attorney Diane Toscano said.
Toscano said the boy – who will not be prosecuted for the shooting – had behavioral problems and a pattern of problems with staff and other students.
According to reports, the boy was was suspended for one day for breaking Zwerner’s cell phone just days before the shooting took place.
Toscano said on the day the shooting happened, three teachers had gone to administrators about the boy’s behavior and the suspicion that he had a gun on campus.
In a statement after the shooting, the boy’s family defended his actions, claiming the gun was locked in their home.
The parents said they have “always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children.”
They also claimed that the boy has a disability and that he is currently receiving the ‘treatment he needs’ temporary detention in a medical institution.
Since the shooting, Zwerner has hired lawyers to sue the district
Zwerner and her legal team claim there were safety protocol flaws on “multiple levels” and the administration was warned about the child in question
Zwerner’s lawyer said the boy – who will not face charges in the shooting – had behavioral problems and a pattern of trouble with staff and other students
After the shooting, Newport News school officials wanted to impeach Superintendent George Parker III
Prosecutor of Newport News Howard Gwynn told NBC News earlier this month that even though he could be charged, the boy would not be charged.
“Our goal is not just to do something as quickly as possible,” Gwynn said.
“Once we have analyzed all the facts, we will charge any person or persons we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they have committed a crime,” he continued.
After the shooting, Newport News school officials were ordered to oust Superintendent George Parker III and metal detectors were installed.
In addition, Richneck’s principal was reassigned to a different role within the district following the incident, while the school’s assistant principal resigned completely.