Global Courant 2023-04-14 18:09:10
The mother of a six-year-old Virginia boy who shot his first-grade teacher in a classroom earlier this year has been arrested, the Newport News police say.
Deja Taylor, 25, reported to the Newport News City Jail on Thursday for outstanding warrants in connection with the January 6 shooting at Richneck Elementary School, police said.
Taylor is charged with child neglect and recklessly leaving a loaded firearm to endanger a child. Her attorney, James Ellensen, told The Associated Press she will appear in Newport News Circuit Court Friday after posting $5,000 bail.
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“She’s nervous and scared because she’s never been charged before, but she’s holding her own,” Ellenson said.
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According to the Newport News Police Department, Deja Taylor turned herself in on Thursday. (Newport Police News)
Taylor’s arrest comes more than three months after police say her son shot and injured first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner as she sat at a reading desk in her classroom. Police said the child used his mother’s gun, which was purchased legally.
The charges came about following an investigation by the Newport News Police Department and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
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“Each criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these allegations, but our investigation into the shooting continues,” Commonwealth attorney Howard Gwynn previously said in a statement.
The Commonwealth Attorney has also asked a Circuit Court judge to convene a Special Grand Jury to continue its investigation into the security issues that may have facilitated the January shooting. The investigation could potentially lead to more people facing criminal charges in connection with the shooting.
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Abby Zwerner was shot in the abdomen on January 6 by a six-year-old student who brought a gun to school. (Facebook/Abby Zwerner)
Zwerner, 25, was shot in the hand and chest on January 6. She was in the hospital for almost two weeks and had to undergo four surgeries.
Last week, Zwerner filed a lawsuit seeking $40 million in damages from school officials, accusing them of gross negligence and ignoring multiple warnings that the boy was armed and in a “violent mood” on the day of the shooting.
The lawsuit names as defendants the Newport News School Board, former Superintendent George Parker III, former Richneck Principal Briana Foster-Newton, and former Richneck Assistant Principal Ebony Parker.
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A Newport News police officer directs traffic at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, on Monday, January 30, 2023. The Virginia elementary school, where a six-year-old boy shot his teacher, reopened on that date with heightened security and a new administrator. (AP Photo/John C. Clark)
In the lawsuit, Zwerner says all defendants knew the boy “had a history of random violence” at school and at home, including an episode the year before in which he “strangled and strangled” his kindergarten teacher.
Last month, Newport News prosecutor Howard Gwynn said his office would not criminally charge the boy because he is too young to understand the legal system.
Bradford Betz of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.