Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher says she’s ‘willing to take responsibility’
The mother of the 6-year-old student who shot his first grade teacher in Virginia earlier this year said she is “willing to take responsibility” for the incident, after being arrested and charged with a felony in its aftermath.
Deja Taylor, 25, was arrested last month and charged with felony child neglect and misdemeanor “recklessly leaving a loaded firearm to endanger a child,” after her son shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner.
“I am, as a parent, willing to take responsibility for him, because he can’t take responsibility for himself,” Taylor said in an interview with ABC News.
Zwerner, who has recovered from the shooting after being hit in the abdomen through her hand, has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News School Board and the school’s administrators, claiming gross negligence and reckless disregard. In the suit, Zwerner claims that the child had exhibited aggressive behavior in the past, accusing the school of ignoring his behavior and warnings that he may have a gun.
The school district has moved to have to case dismissed, arguing the injuries Zwerner suffered are covered under the state’s worker compensation laws, which it said she was approved for but has rejected.
The suit also claims that the boy grabbed Zwerner’s phone and “slammed the cellphone on the ground so hard that it cracked and shattered.”
Taylor said her son has ADHD and is “off the wall. Doesn’t sit still, ever.” But she described him as a “great kid.” She also said that the phone incident happened after Zwerner asked him to sit down, which caused him to throw his hands up into the air.
“He threw his arms up. He said, ‘Fine.’ And when he threw his arms up, he knocked her phone out of her hand on accident,” she said.
The gun used in the shooting was purchased legally by Taylor, who did not address questions about how her son accessed the weapon.
“I don’t know that any adult knows exactly how he got the gun,” Taylor’s lawyer said in the interview. Taylor nodded when asked if the gun was locked somewhere.
Taylor is facing up to six years in prison for the charges, but her lawyer said they are hoping to work out a plea deal. Her trial is set for August.
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