Va. Teacher Shot by 6-Year-Old Student Says 'I Try to Stay Positive' in First Interview

Abigail Zwerner was shot in her hand and chest when a 6-year-old student opened fire in her classroom on Jan. 6

abigail zwerner today interview
Abigail Zwerner. Photo: today

A Virginia teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student is opening up about her recovery for the first time.

Abigail Zwerner of Newport News, Virginia, spoke with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie, marking her first interview since the January incident.

In an exclusive clip of the episode, set to air Tuesday, the 25-year-old tells Guthrie, "I've been doing okay. It's been challenging. I've gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges. Some days are not-so-good days, 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."

Still, Zwerner says she insists on staying optimistic.

"But 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."

On Jan. 6, authorities initially said the boy shot the teacher — later identified as Zwerner — with a handgun, leaving her with life-threatening injuries. Police confirmed only one round was fired and it was an "isolated" event.

"The individual is a 6-year-old student. He is right now in police custody," Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said at a press conference several hours after the shooting.

"We have been in contact with our commonwealth attorney and some other entities to help us best get services to this young man," he told the media.

"We'll get the investigation done, there's questions we'll want to ask and find out about," Drew said. "I want to know where that firearm came from, what was the situation."

"This was not an accidental shooting," he added.

RELATED VIDEO: Family of 6-Year-Old Accused of Intentionally Shooting Teacher Speaks Out

A 5th-grader, Novah Jones, later recounted the scary incident.

"We were doing math … an announcer came on, she was like, 'lockdown, I repeat lockdown,'" Novah told CNN. "… I didn't know what to do, so I just hid under my desk like everybody was."

"I couldn't breathe, I was in shock," Novah's mother, Kasheba Jones, told the outlet of the moment her daughter texted her about the shooting.

Novah said she experienced "flashbacks" while trying to sleep Friday night because she feared the alleged shooter would show up at her house with a gun.

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Zwerner was standing before her students providing "classroom instructions" before Friday's shooting, Chief Drew said.

Zwerner held up her hand during the shooting and the bullet went through her hand and then her chest, Drew said. He also noted that Zwerner helped all the students out into the hallway before leaving the classroom herself, saying she "saved lives that day."

The interview airs on Tuesday, March 21 on NBC's TODAY.

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