Mother of 6-Year-Old Who Shot His Teacher Says She Takes Responsibility for His Actions, Son Has Severe ADHD
Deja Taylor, the mother of first-grade student who shot his teacher, says her son is too young to accept responsibility for what he did.
The mother of 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot his teacher inside their classroom says her son has a severe form of ADHD and that she takes responsibility for her son's actions.
“That is my son, so I am as a parent, obviously, willing to take responsibility for him, because he can’t take responsibility for himself,” Deja Taylor told ABC’s Linsey Davis in a "Good Morning America" interview broadcast Wednesday.
Taylor’s child used her gun to shoot teacher Abigail Zwerner in January. The 25-year-old instructor at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News suffered severed injuries after being shot in the hand. The bullet then lodged in her chest. She is still recuperating at home.
Deja Taylor was charged in April with felony child neglect and one count of reckless storage of a firearm. Her attorney, James Ellenson, has said he hopes to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors before her scheduled trial begins in August.
Ellenson has also said Taylor's legally purchased handgun was locked with a trigger guard and stored on a high closet shelf. In the ABC interview, Ellenson said, “People have talked to him about that, but I don’t know that any adult knows exactly how he got the gun,” he said.
Police said the boy carried the gun to school in his backpack.
Taylor said her son's ADHD is pronounced. “Some are able to have it at a very mild rate, but he’s off the wall, doesn’t sit still — ever," she said.
The boy had been under a supervised plan requiring him to be accompanied by a parent to school each day, his mother said. The week of the shooting was the first time he had gone alone to class, she said. The change was made because “he had started medication” and “was meeting his goals academically," Taylor said.
“I just truly would like to apologize ... she did get hurt. We were actually kind of forming a relationship with me having to be in the classroom. And she is really a bright person," Taylor said of Zwerner.
The first-grade teacher has sued school administrators and the school board, claiming they were aware of the child's “history of random violence." She also alleges school administrators failed to intercede the day of the shooting, despite receiving several reports that the boy had been seen with a gun and had threatened other children.
The boy is now in the care of his great-grandfather.
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