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Mother of Child Who Shot Teacher to be Charged with Child Neglect

According to an official news release from the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney from Newport News, Virginia, the mother of the 6-year-old who shot his first-grade teacher will be charged for the incident. The mother of the child, Deja Taylor, will be charged with felony child neglect, and one count of recklessly leaving a firearm to endanger a child. However, the child will not face any criminal charges. Due to the incident, the child’s teacher, Abigail Zwerner, was left wounded, with gunshot wounds to her hand and chest.


On January 6th, the child brought the weapon owned by his mother to school in his backpack and fired the weapon at his teacher, according to official police reports. The gun was purchased by Taylor and was assumed to be kept safe on the top shelf of her bedroom closet and secured by a trigger lock, according to the family’s attorney. After a thorough investigation from both the police and the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the charges were filed, and the mother was indicted.

An attorney from the family stated that the mother “has cooperated from the first day of the incident” and plans to turn herself in by the end of the week.


Known by teachers, staff, and the family to have an “acute disability”, the child was under a care plan that required a parent to attend school with him, but on the day of the incident, the student was not accompanied by a guardian. In a statement released by the family, the family said, “…will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”


This month, the child’s teacher filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school administration and the school board, claiming that they were aware of the child’s “history of random violence”, yet not doing enough to ease the concerns over a firearm the boy possessed on the day of the incident. According to the lawsuit, Zwerner’s attorney alleges that school staff and administrators at Richneck Elementary School were aware of the child’s outburst of violence at home and that his parents refused to place him in special education. The staff was also aware of the requirement for the child to be accompanied by a guardian, but allowed the student to stay in school without a parent on that day. The lawsuit also claims staff was aware of the possession of a firearm hours before the incident occurred, but the principal forbade staff from searching the child, due to the parent arriving for pick up momentarily.


This shooting incident follows a string of gun violence plaguing the U.S. Whether it be from pedestrian gun violence, school shootings, or even this week’s Kentucky bank mass shooting, it’s clear that gun violence is continuing to be a problem for both U.S. officials and citizens of the nation.

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