Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told NBC News on Wednesday that the “prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic.”
Gwynn doubted that a young child would be able to understand the legal system, what a charge means or how to adequately assist an attorney.
Although a 6-year-old could be theoretically be criminally charged under Virginia law, Gwynn said he does not believe there is a legal basis to charge the child.
“Our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible,” Gwynn said. “Once we analyze all the facts, we will charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime.”
On Jan. 6, the unnamed boy reportedly brought a 9 mm handgun to school and intentionally shot his first grade teacher, Abby Zwerner, as she was teaching the class.
The shooting happened during the first week when the child was unaccompanied by either parent, according to the parents’ statement.