NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Abby Zwerner, the teacher shot by a six-year-old student at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on January 6, spoke out for the first time Monday in an exclusive NBC News interview with Savannah Guthrie.
The interview aired in full on NBC News’ Today Show Tuesday morning. Zwerner discussed her recovery and how she has been doing since the shooting. Zwerner said she has gone through four surgeries for her injuries.
She spoke to Guthrie late Monday morning, with her twin sister and mother at her side. A preview of the exclusive Today Show interview aired Monday on NBC Nightly News.
Zwerner was in a classroom full of students that Friday afternoon, when one of the students pulled out a 9mm handgun, which Newport News Police said legally belonged to his mother.
Zwerner said she will never forget the look on the child’s face when he pointed the gun at her and fired it. “That’s something that I will never forget. It’s changed me. It’s changed my life,” she told Guthrie.
During a January 9 press conference, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew confirmed the bullet went through her hand, into her chest.
“It could’ve been fatal. We believe, with my hand being up, with it going through my hand first, we believe that, by the bullet going through the hand first, that it most likely saved my life,” she told Guthrie.
“I’ve been doing OK,” Zwerner said. “You know, I–it’s been challenging. I’ve gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges. Some days are not-so-good day, where I can’t get up out of bed. Some days are better than others, where I’m able to get out of bed and make it to my appointments.”
“But, you know, 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.”
The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney said earlier this month that the six-year-old will not face charges.
Asked by Guthrie how she even makes sense of what happened to her, Zwerner said she couldn’t.
“You can’t. You can’t,” Zwerner said. “You know, I’m not sure when the shock will ever go away because of just how surreal it was and, you know, the vivid memories that I have of that day. You know. I think about it daily. Sometimes I have nightmares.”
In a statement sent to 10 On Your Side Wednesday, Zwerner’s lawyer, Diane Toscano, said that she has added Jeff Berit and the team at Breit Biniazan to their legal team to handle this case.
As we approach the filing of the lawsuit and the case moves into the next stage, I’ve been building a top-notch legal team of attorneys and experts to fight for justice for Abby Zwerner and to hold accountable those who failed to prevent this tragedy. Jeff Breit and the team at Breit Biniazan are tremendous lawyers that I have added to our legal team. We know how closely watched this situation is around the nation, and we are laser focused on this case.Statement from Diane Toscano
View Abby Zwerner’s full interview from the Today Show at www.today.com.