Virginia grand jury indicts mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher

By Jonna Lorenz

April 10 (UPI) -- A Virginia grand jury on Monday indicted the mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot and wounded his teacher in Newport News in January.

Deja Nicole Taylor, 25, faces a felony charge of child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child.


Prosecutors also asked for a special grand jury to continue to investigate the incident, during which Abigail Zwerner, 25, as shot in front of her first-grade class at Richneck Elementary School on Jan. 6.

Police have said Taylor legally purchased the Taurus handgun involved in the shooting. Felony child neglect is punishable by up to five years behind bars. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to a year behind bars.

"Every criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues, Newport News Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn said, according to NBC News.

The special grand jury investigation could take months to determine whether others should be held criminally responsible for the shooting, Daily Press reported.

Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit last week, alleging that school officials ignored her repeated warnings about the student, even after she alerted them that the boy had a gun on the day of the shooting.


The lawsuit says teachers were denied permission to search the child's backpack after Zwerner and other students reported that the boy may have had a gun.

Assistant Principal Ebony Parker, who resigned days after the shooting, was named in Zwerner's lawsuit, along with Principal Briana Foster Newton, the Newport News School Board, and former schools superintendent George Parker III.

The boy allegedly pulled the gun out of his hoodie pocket and shot his teacher, who was seated nearby at a reading table. A 9mm bullet hit Zwerner in the hand, upper chest and shoulder. She escorted 18 students out of the classroom after being shot.

Earlier this month, Gwynn said he wouldn't charge the child because he would not be competent to stand trial.

The boy's family has said the gun used in the shooting was stored securely.

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