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Mother of Virginia 6-Year-Old Who Shot His Teacher Is Indicted

A grand jury indicted the mother of a 6-year-old who shot his teacher at a Virginia elementary school in January. Deja Taylor faces one felony count of child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm to endanger a child, said Howard Gwynn, the commonwealth’s attorney for Newport News, Va., on Monday. A lawyer for Taylor said she is planning to turn herself in this week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Authorities say the boy intentionally shot his 25-year-old teacher on Jan. 6 with a legally obtained handgun purchased by the child's mother and brought from home to Richneck Elementary School, in his backpack. Police said the child pointed the gun at teacher Abigail Zwerner in class, firing one shot that went through her hand and into her upper chest. When authorities arrived they found a school employee restraining the boy.

Zwerner sued school officials for $40 million, saying they failed to take action despite warnings the boy had a gun. The Newport News School Board said it had been working with its community “to address safety and security, student behavior and family engagement.” The boy’s family has said he has an acute disability and that the week of the shooting was the first week they weren’t in class with him. In January, they said they were praying for Zwerner’s healing and that they were working with local and federal law enforcement. Gwynn has asked for a special grand jury to continue the investigation into security lapses that might have contributed to the shooting and said charges against more people are possible. Criminal charges against parents or other relatives after a shooting committed by a child are rare. The shooting drew national attention and raised questions about gun violence in U.S. schools.


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