A teacher at a Virginia elementary school was shot at work on Friday, and police say it wasn't an accident. They've also nabbed a suspect. "The individual is a 6-year-old student," Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said at a presser later Friday, per CNN. "He is right now in police custody." Drew said the teacher, a female in her 30s, was shot in her first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary School after an afternoon altercation with the young boy, who had the firearm and fired a single shot. Drew noted the teacher and student were believed to have been alone in the room, having a teacher-student conference, per NBC News.
The school was locked down after the 911 call came in about the shooting, and a police statement notes no other students were injured. Students were moved to the gym, where they waited for their parents to pick them up. The teacher is said to be in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, though Drew noted there'd been "some improvement" as of Friday night. He added that the boy, who won't be IDed publicly due to his age, used a handgun, though he didn't offer further details. Newport News Public Schools Superintendent Dr. George Parker says the school does have metal detectors, but that they're not activated full time. He now says he plans on looking into upgrading them.
Curtis Bethany, a Newport News councilman, calls the incident "[uncharted]" territory, telling the New York Times, "I've never heard of a 6-year-old going to school with a loaded gun." A database cited by the Times notes there have only been three school shootings since 1970 that involved a 6-year-old shooter, and two of them were accidental. As for what's going to happen to the boy as the investigation continues, Drew says, per CNN: "We have been in contact with our commonwealth attorney and some other entities to help us best get services to this young man." The school will be closed on Monday, according to Parker, who says he's "shocked" and "disheartened" by what happened. He adds: "We need to keep the guns out of the hands of our young people." (Read more shooting stories.)