A six-year-old boy left a teacher seriously injured after shooting her in a classroom, US police have said.
No students or other staff were injured in the incident, which officials described as “an altercation” and “not an accident,” at Richneck Elementary School in Virginia.
The injured teacher, who is a woman in her 30s, was taken to hospital. Police Chief Steve Drew told reporters she had started to show some improvement.
He added that the child was found with a handgun in the classroom and was taken into custody.
“It was not an accidental gunshot,” Mr Drew said, adding that he wanted to know where the gun came from.
“We haven’t had a situation where someone was running around the school shooting,” he continued.
“We have a situation in a particular location where a shot was fired.”
Newport News Public Schools confirmed on Facebook that parents and students were gathered at the door of a gymnasium, and officials said there would be no classes on Monday.
Joselin Glover, whose nine-year-old son Carlos attends Richneck Primary School, said he received a text from the school saying one person had been shot and another was in custody.
“My heart stopped,” she told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.
“I was freaked out, very nervous. I was just wondering if that person was my son.”
Carlos, who is in fourth grade, was on recess at the time, but said he and his classmates soon locked themselves in the back of a classroom.
“Most of the whole class was crying,” Carlos told the newspaper.
“My teachers can’t control access to weapons”
Superintendent of Schools George Parker said he was “shocked” and “disheartened” by the shooting and called for more to be done to prevent children from picking up guns.
“We must keep guns away from our young people,” he said.
“I can’t control access to weapons. My teachers can’t control access to weapons.”
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Mr. Parker explained that all school campuses are equipped for random metal detector searches, but they were not deployed to Richneck Elementary on Friday.
Newport News is a city of about 185,000 in southeastern Virginia, known for its shipyard, which builds the nation’s aircraft carriers and other United States Navy vessels.
The school has about 550 students, according to the Virginia Department of Education website.