Newport News Public Schools
Richneck Entrance 640b3641ddc21
Richneck Entrance 640b3641ddc21
Richneck Entrance 640b3641ddc21
Richneck Entrance 640b3641ddc21
Richneck Entrance 640b3641ddc21

Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher faces federal charges

June 6, 2023
The boy's mother plans to plead guilty to gun charges, her lawyer says.

The mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot a teacher earlier this year at a Virginia elementary school has been charged with federal gun offenses.

The Washington Post reports that Deja Taylor, 26, of Newport News, Va., has been charged in federal court with illegally using drugs while possessing a firearm and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

Federal law bars those who use illegal drugs from possessing firearms. Prosecutors allege that Taylor did not disclose to authorities that she used marijuana when she bought a gun.

Taylor's attorney said she plans to enter guilty pleas to the federal charges.

The 6-year-old put a gun in his backpack in January and brought it to his first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary School. He shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner, as she taught a lesson. The bullet went through Zwerner’s hand and lodged in her chest, leaving her seriously injured.

Zwerner is recovering at home after multiple surgeries.

Taylor also faces state charges--a felony count of child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly storing a firearm.

Zwerner contends in a lawsuit that an administrator at Richneck refused to heed at least three warnings that the boy had a gun on the day of the shooting. Zwerner said the boy had a history of “random violence” and had smashed her phone two days before the shooting occurred.

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