Grand Jury Indicts Virginia Mother of 6-Year-Old Boy Who Shot His Teacher: Prosecutor
A Virginia grand jury has indicted Deja Nicole Taylor, the mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher with mom's gun, prosecutors said.
A grand jury in Virginia has indicted the mother of a 6-year-old boy who took his mom's gun to school and shot his first-grade teacher three months ago, according to prosecutors.
Deja Nicole Taylor, 26, of Newport News, was charged Monday with one felony count of child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a firearm so as to endanger a child.
“Every criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said in a statement Monday.
The criminal charges follow “a thorough investigation by Newport News Police Department and this office,” Gwynn said.
Teacher Abby Zwerner was seriously wounded after the boy shot her in the hand inside Zwerner's classroom, police said. The bullet lodged in her chest and shoulder and the 25-year-old instructor is still recovering from her injuries, according to her attorney.
After the shooting, the boy's parents released a statement through their attorney saying their son had an "acute disability" and was under a treatment plan at the elementary school. The mother has also said the legally purchased handgun hand been stored on a high closet shelf and was equipped with a trigger lock that required a key.
Family lawyer James Ellenson told Inside Edition Digital Tuesday that the mother has been cooperating with authorities since "day one" and is expected to surrender to authorities before the end of the week. His client has no criminal history and the boy is her only child, Ellenson said.
"As always, first and foremost is the continued health and well-being of all persons involved in the incident at Richneck Elementary School, to include both the teacher and Deja's son," the lawyer said.
The woman maintains her earlier statements about the handgun being locked and safely stored, Ellenson told Inside Edition Digital.
The shooting by a 6-year-old boy garnered international headlines. Police said the boy's firing of his mother's 9 mm handgun was "intentional" and occurred as Zwerner sat at a reading table.
Earlier this month, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging school administrators ignored multiple warnings from staff and students that the boy had a gun and was threatening other children.
The lawsuit claimed school officials knew the child "had a history of random violence" at school and at home, including an episode last year in which he "strangled and choked" his kindergarten teacher.
School officials have declined comment, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
Last month, Gwynn announced he would file no criminal charges against the child, saying he was too young to understand the court system and aid in his own defense.
In his statement Monday, Gwynn said the prosecution would have no further comment.
"In keeping with our ethical responsibility not to make any out-of-court statement that might interfere with the fairness of a trial by jury," Gwynn said, "this office will make no further public comment about these proceedings while they are pending."
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