NEWPORT NEWS, VA -- The mother of a 6-year-old boy who allegedly shot a teacher at his Newport News, Virginia, elementary school is now facing charges, prosecutors announced Monday,
A grand jury returned two indictments charging Deja Taylor with felony child neglect and misdemeanor recklessly leaving a loaded firearm as to endanger a child, according to prosecutors.
Investigators said Taylor's 6-year-old son took a handgun from his home on Jan. 6, put it in his backpack and brought it to Richneck Elementary School where he allegedly shot and wounded 25-year-old teacher Abigail Zwerner in a first grade classroom. Zwerner suffered critical injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.
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Zwerner has sued the school's former superintendent, principal and assistant principal for $40 million, alleging negligence.
Zwerner's lawyer, Diane Toscano, said in a statement about the new charges, "There were failures in accountability at multiple levels that led to Abby being shot and almost killed. Today's announcement addresses but one of those failures. It has been three months of investigation and still so many unanswered questions remain."
"Our lawsuit makes clear that we believe the school division violated state law, and we are pursuing this in civil court," Toscano continued. "We will not allow school leaders to escape accountability for their role in this tragedy."
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Police said the 9 mm Taurus pistol was legally purchased by the boy's mother.
In the wake of the shooting, the 6-year-old's family said their son "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day."
"The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him," the family said.