Grandmother says she gave aid to teacher allegedly shot by 6-year-old

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 10:12 AM EST
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WTKR/CNN) - Abby Zwerner, a teacher allegedly shot by a 6-year-old student Friday, is in stable condition, authorities said.

A grandparent who was inside the school said she offered aid to the wounded teacher.

That grandparent later attended a rally to curb gun violence.

“She said, ‘I’m shot, I’m shot. Call 911,’” said Lawanda Sample-Rusk. “We only thought it was somewhere on her hand, maybe, but after looking further, she passed out on the floor and then after looking further, it was another gunshot wound.”

A grandparent of two boys who attend Richneck Elementary School, she came to the school early to pick up her first grader and kindergartner. Moments later, a teacher was shot.

“Myself and the receptionist stayed pretty much mostly to her side, because we know that the administrators had to do what they needed to do to make sure all of the children were safe,” Sample-Rusk said. “I didn’t do CPR, but I did help put pressure on her wounds.”

This all was happening in the school office before first responders were able to get to Zwerner.

“I didn’t know what to do. I’m not a med... I didn’t know what to do, just instinct,” Sample-Rusk said.

She said she was worrying not only for Zwerner but for her two boys’ safety.

“He was in the classroom beside where the gunshots was, and he heard the gunshots,” she said.

“Some kids were crying,” one of Sample-Rusk’s grandsons said.

She said the shooting led her to attend an anti-violence rally. Concerned residents, community activists and city leaders voiced concerns at the second annual Stop the Violence Rally as the school shooting pains the community.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew was there showing support to the youngest in the community.

“Were trying to focus this on a mental issue more than just the violence part of it,” said Devon Kelley, a Stop the Violence Rally organizer.

Sample-Rusk said she is enhancing her mental health conversations with her boys.

“They don’t realize the height of this situation; however, I’m still talking to them about what happened on Friday, and I will continue to talk to them until they really get a full understanding on the magnitude of how things could’ve went,” she said.