Six Year-Old Shooter Raises Difficult Questions for Criminal Justice System

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Firm News

On January 6, 2023, Virginia police say that a 6 year-old first grade student brought a gun to school and shot his teacher. The student’s mother had legally purchased the gun and it was kept in the family home. The student obtained the gun and then brought it to school in his back pack. Following the shooting, the student was placed in custody of child protective services for a psychological evaluation. The Newport News Commonwealth Attorney recently announced that the 6 year-old boy would not face criminal charges because of the difficulties presented in a young child understanding both the legal system and the charge. Common law doctrine known as the “infancy defense” has held that children under the age of 7 years-old, cannot be prosecuted for crimes because they are not capable of forming “criminal intent”. The young boy is currently being treated for emotional issues, and there is still an open investigation that could lead to the boy’s mother being criminally charged for failing to properly secure her handgun.