Mom of 6-year-old boy who shot his Virginia teacher indicted
The mother of a 6-year-old boy accused of shooting and seriously wounding his first-grade teacher in Virginia is facing criminal charges, prosecutors announced Monday.
While the boy will not be charged in connection with the Jan. 6 shooting, a grand jury returned an indictment charging the mother, Deja Taylor, with felony child neglect and misdemeanor recklessly leaving a loaded firearm as to endanger a child, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said.
“Every criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues,” Gwynn said in a statement on Monday.
He has also petitioned for a special grand jury to investigate whether any security issues may have contributed to the shooting.
Abigail Zwerner, the 25-year-old teacher, filed a $40 million lawsuit after she was shot in the chest and hand at Richneck Elementary School. Zwerner needed four surgeries to recover.
The boy used his mother’s gun, police said, which had been purchased legally.
Family members said the gun was secured. They also noted the 6-year-old boy suffers from an “acute disability.”
According to Zwerner’s lawsuit, the boy’s parents did not agree to put him in special education classes where he would be with other students with behavioral issues.
The teacher accuses the school of gross negligence for allegedly ignoring multiple warnings on the day of the shooting that the boy was in a “violent mood” and had a gun. The Newport News School Board, former Superintendent George Parker III, former Richneck principal Briana Foster Newton and former Richneck assistant principal Ebony Parker are named as defendants. The superintendent was fired by the school board and the school assistant principal resigned in the wake of the shooting.
“The special grand jury will investigate to determine whether additional charges against additional persons are justified by the facts and the law,” Gwynn said in a statement. “If the special grand jury determines that additional persons are criminally responsible under the law, it can return additional indictments.”