Six-year-old boy shoots teacher inside classroom in Virginia, US

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A six-year-old boy has been detained by the police for shooting his teacher at a school in the US state of Virginia.

The shooting happened on Friday just after 2pm local time (7pm UK time) at Richneck Elementary School in the city of Newport News, police chief Steve Drew said.

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The teacher, who has not been named but is a woman in her 30s, was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries but is showing some improvement.

It is unclear how the child obtained the gun. No students or further members of staff were injured during the incident beyond the teacher who was known to him in a classroom setting, police said.

Mr Drew stressed: “We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting.”

He said the shooting was not accidental, adding: “We have a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired, this is an isolated incident.”

Police said the boy had used a handgun and are looking into how he obtained it.

School district head Dr George Parker said officials would “be looking at any instance that may have occurred that may have caused this incident”.

“This is terrible, something like this should never occur,” Dr Parker added. “We want to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

He said the school would be closed on Monday, and pledged that students and parents would be offered support to help them deal with the traumatic event.

Mayor Phillip Jones – who took office just three days ago – said the shooting marked “a dark day for Newport News”.

“We’re going to learn from this and we’re going to come back stronger,” he told reporters.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said he had offered assistance to local officials, adding that his administration was “ready to help in any way we can”.

“I am continuing to monitor the situation and am praying for the continued safety of all students and the community,” he wrote on Twitter.

Dr Parker said that while district schools have “metal detection capability,” the schools do not make children walk through a metal detector every day.

“If we have a perceived threat, or an issue, we administer random metal detections on those days,” he said.

He added that guns appear on campus because of “access in the community.”

“This is not a Newport News problem,” he said. “It’s a bigger and broader problem than what we’re seeing today.”

Newport News is a city of around 180,000 people and sits about 70 miles (112km) to the south of the state capital Richmond.