Cousins! A Virginia mother has officially pleaded guilty to a series of felony charges after her young son brought her gun to school and shot his teacher within a classroom full of students!
Deja Nicole Taylor is currently facing charges for child neglect along with a maximum penalty of five years behind bars. According to Fox News, upon her pleading guilty to the Class 6 felony she was able to avoid a misdemeanor charge of reckless storage of a firearm.
The incident occurred on January 6th at Richneck Elementary School when 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner was shot by Deja’s son. The first-grade teacher is said to have been shot in her hand as well as her chest. She was then rushed to Riverside Regional Medical Center for life-threatening injuries.
An issued warrant details that at the time of the incident a reading school specialist had been walking past Zwerner’s classroom when she heard a gunshot.
“Several children ran out of the classroom. After she saw Zwerner run out of the classroom, bleeding from her hand and upper torso, the specialist went into the room and saw the boy standing by his desk with the gun on the floor nearby,” reads the warrant per Fox 5 DC.
Reports read that the specialist stepped in to grab the young child and hold him until officials arrived on the premises. It has been stated that as the child was being restrained he said, ‘I shot that b**** dead.’ And ‘I did it.’ ‘I got my mom’s gun last night.’”
Police state that the child fired one shot from the his mother’s 9 mm handgun. A shell casing was discovered near the firearm upon their arrival.
Officers state that Deja was interviewed at a police headquarters. She was indicted by a Newport News Grandy Jury on April 10th.
“Ms. Taylor stated she either stores her firearm in her purse with a trigger lock in place, or in a lock box,” the warrants said. “Ms. Taylor believes on the morning of January 6, 2023, that her firearm was stored in her purse with the trigger lock in place and that her purse was on top of her bedroom dresser. Ms. Taylor stated she keeps the key for the gunlock under her bedroom mattress.”
Deja is scheduled to appear in court on October 27th at 1PM where she will be officially sentenced.
“We are thinking of Ms. Zwerner and all the students & faculty who experienced these events as our office continues its investigation,” said Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn.
“The safety of our schools is of paramount importance, and we will continue to support the victims as they work through the effects of this incident,” said prosecutor Howard E. Gwynn.
Reports read that an active investigation is underway as the Commonwealth Attorney’s office has petitioned for Circuit Court to establish a special grand jury to probe “security failures at the school that may have contributed to this shooting.”
“The safety and security of Newport News students is of utmost importance. The Special Grand Jury will investigate to determine whether additional charges against additional persons are justified by the facts and the law.” Gwynn said.
“If the special grand jury determines that additional persons are criminally responsible under the law, it can return additional indictments.”
Zwerner has also filed a $40 million dollar lawsuit against the school upon claims of gross negligence.
Obtained court documents detail that Zwerner is accusing administrators of failing to act on mutliple warnings school employees gave prior to the tragic incident. It has been indicated that she reportedly told an assistant principal that the boy “was in a violent mood” and had threatened to beat up a kindergartner.
The suit also claims, “other warnings came from two students, who told a staff member that the boy had a gun in his backpack.”
District officials are said to had the boy’s bag l searched but declared that no weapon had been found.
Zwerner says that the assistant principal said the boy’s “pockets were too small to hold a handgun and did nothing.”
Her lawsuit also alleges that over the course of several months, school officials continually dismissed concerns about the boy’s violent behavior.
The school board responded in notingthat the boy was being evaluated and treated for possible ADHD.
They are also said to have approved the installation of metal detectors in every school and began ordering a week after the shooting took place.