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Age of Virginia class shooter presents rarity, legal hurdle

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A school shooting that Virginia police said was committed by a 6-year-old student represents an extremely rare occurrence of a young child bringing a gun into school and wounding a teacher, according to experts who study gun violence.

The boy shot and wounded the teacher in a first-grade classroom on Friday at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, according to authorities. The police chief said the shooting was not accidental and was part of an altercation but didn’t elaborate further. No students were injured.

A school shooting involving a 6-year-old is extremely rare, although not unheard of, with at least one other high-profile example of a 6-year-old in Michigan shooting a fellow student in 2000, experts said. Meanwhile, Virginia law limits the ways in which a child that age can be punished for such a crime.

“There are students who killed teachers, more typically high school students,” said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Boston’s Northeastern University. “I don’t know of other cases where a 6-year-old shot a teacher.”

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