6-year-old shoots teacher at Newport News elementary school: police

A 6-year-old boy is in custody and an adult hospitalized after a shooting at an elementary school in Newport News, VA, according to police. 

The Newport News Police Department said the shooting happened at Richneck Elementary School around 2 p.m. on Friday. The school is located about an hour north of Norfolk.

According to investigators, the 6-year-old student shot a teacher during an altercation in a first grade classroom.

"We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting," Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said on Friday. "We have a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired."

Drew said the student and teacher had known each other in a classroom setting, and added that the shooting was not an accident. The police chief did not provide further details about the shooting, the altercation or what happened inside the school.

He said the boy had a handgun in the classroom, and investigators were trying to figure out where he obtained it. 

The police chief did not specifically address questions about whether authorities were in touch with the boy’s parents, but said members of the police department were handling that investigation.

"We have been in contact with our commonwealth’s attorney (local prosecutor) and some other entities to help us best get services to this young man," Drew said.

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The teacher was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police said later Friday afternoon that the teacher's condition was improving.

The teacher was identified as a woman in her 30s, but police did not release other information about her.

Police said no students were injured during the incident.

"Today our students got a lesson in gun violence," said George Parker III, Newport News schools superintendent, "and what guns can do to disrupt, not only an educational environment, but also a family, a community."

Virginia law does not allow 6-year-olds to be tried as adults. It also does not allow a 6-year-old to be committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if found guilty.

A juvenile judge would have authority, though, to revoke a parent’s custody and place a child under the purview of the Department of Social Services.

Richneck has about 550 students who are in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to the Virginia Department of Education's website. 

School officials have already said that there will be no classes at the school on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.