NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia teacher who was shot and wounded by her 6-year-old student said she has vivid memories and nightmares about that day, which she says has changed her life.
Abby Zwerner spoke for the first time in an interview on the Today Show on Tuesday morning.
With her twin sister and mother at her side, Zwerner discussed her challenging recovery, including four surgeries.
She said she has some days when she “can’t get up out of bed,” while on others, she is able to go about her day and make it to appointments.
“I just will never forget the look on his face that he gave me while he pointed the gun directly at me,” said the first-grade teacher. “It’s changed me. It’s changed my life.”
Zwerner was in a classroom full of first graders at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, on that Friday afternoon when one of the students pulled out a 9mm handgun, which Newport News Police said legally belonged to his mother.
“I’m not sure when the shock will ever go away because of just how surreal it was and the vivid memories I have of that day. I think about it daily. Sometimes, I have nightmares,” Zwerner said.
During a Jan. 9 press conference, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew confirmed the bullet went through Zwerner’s hand and into her chest. She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks afterward.
“It could’ve been fatal. We believe, with my hand being up, with it going through my hand first, …that it most likely saved my life,” she said.
The shooting rattled the military shipbuilding community and sent shock waves around the country, with many wondering how a child so young could get access to a gun and shoot his teacher.
“For going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive. You know, try to have a positive outlook on what’s happened and where my future’s heading,” Zwerner said
The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney said earlier this month that the 6-year-old will not face charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.