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Gun allegedly used by 6-year-old to shoot teacher kept on top shelf of mother’s closet, attorney says

<i>Jay Paul/Getty Images</i><br/>Police tape hangs from a sign post outside Richneck Elementary School.
Getty Images
Jay Paul/Getty Images
Police tape hangs from a sign post outside Richneck Elementary School.

By Brian Todd and Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

The gun allegedly used by the first grader accused of shooting his teacher in Newport News, Virginia, was kept on the top shelf of his mother’s bedroom closet, James Ellenson, the attorney representing the child’s family, told CNN.

The gun had been secured by a trigger lock, the attorney told CNN in an email Sunday.

Ellenson has not yet specified how the 6-year-old was able to access the weapon.

This week, Newport News Police and ATF officials conducted their second round of searches at two homes belonging to the child’s family, Ellenson said.

No charges have been filed.

The gun was legally purchased by the child’s mother, who could face charges at the end of the investigation, according to Newport News Chief of Police Steve Drew. The child brought it to the school in his backpack, he said.

The teacher, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner, was released from the hospital last week. She was shot in the chest after the bullet passed through one of her hands, according to Drew.

On Thursday, the family of the boy released a statement, saying their child has an acute disability and they were praying for Zwerner, who “selflessly served our son and the children in the school.”

Richneck Elementary has been closed since the January 6 shooting, but students and parents have been invited back to the school Wednesday for a two-hour non-instructional activity period, according to a letter from a school administrator.

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