Mother of 6-year-old who shot Virginia teacher speaks in first televised interview

Richneck Elementary School, Virginia
Richneck Elementary School, Virginia

As previously reported by REVOLT, in January, a 6-year-old student shot his teacher with a 9 mm handgun at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The victim, 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner, survived the incident but has since sued the school district for $40 million, claiming administrators did not heed her warnings that could have prevented the tragedy.

Today (May 10), ABC News shared an exclusive interview with the child’s mother, Deja Taylor, speaking out for the first time. While the Newport News, Virginia police said they would not press charges against the minor, Taylor is willing to face the consequences of her child’s actions. “I am, as a parent, obviously willing to take responsibility for him because he can’t take responsibility,” she admitted during the sit-down where her lawyer and the student’s great-grandfather were also present.

Taylor, who has since been charged with child neglect and failing to secure the firearm, described her son as a “great kid” but “very energetic” due to an ADHD diagnosis. She also claimed the child showed no signs of a planned attack toward the Virginia instructor because he “actually really liked” Zwerner, but did mention “he felt like he was being ignored” by her the week before the near-fatal attack. In court documents, Zwerner accused the child of having a “history of random violence” and added he “attacked students and teachers alike.”

James Ellenson, who is legally representing Taylor, shifted the focus to Virginia school officials. “If they believed all of these behaviors to be true, then they should not have allowed him” to proceed with advancing to higher level classes, the attorney suggested. “They should’ve put him back into kindergarten, possibly even pre-K, but at the minimum to kindergarten,” Ellenson added. The child’s great-grandfather now has custody of the 6-year-old and said, “Jan. 6 was a terrible day for a lotta people. A terrible day for the teacher, a terrible day for the kids that was in that classroom, a terrible day for my great-grandson, and a terrible day for the community, and my other family members and friends.”

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