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Mom of 6-year-old who shot teacher sentenced to 21 months in prison

Callum Jones

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| Last updated 

Mom of 6-year-old who shot teacher sentenced to 21 months in prison

Featured Image Credit: ABC / Newport News Police Department

The mom of a six-year-old student who shot his teacher has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Deja Taylor’s son took her handgun into school on 6 January, subsequently shooting Abby Zwerner in a first-grade classroom.

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The classroom teacher was seriously wounded as a result of the shooting in Newport News.

Since then, Taylor has pleaded guilty to using marijuana while owning a firearm, which is illegal under US law.

As a result, she was handed the close to two-year sentence.

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Investigators found an ounce of marijuana in Taylor’s bedroom while also finding evidence of drug use in her text messages.

Prosecutors also claim her firearm was involved in a separate incident last December in which she allegedly shot at her son's father after seeing him with his girlfriend, writing in court filings that 'not once, but twice someone nearly lost their lives because of Taylor's offenses'.

The incident has very much remained quiet for most of the year, though Taylor's sentencing in a US District Court on Wednesday (15 November) provided the first measure of accountability.

Deja Taylor has been sentenced to 21 months in prison. Credit: ABC
Deja Taylor has been sentenced to 21 months in prison. Credit: ABC
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At the time of the shooting, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said: "This was not an accidental shooting," saying the young boy shot Zwerner as she was sitting at a table reading.

While the teacher may have survived the shooting, she did have to undergo multiple operations and spent two weeks in hospital after being shot in her left arm and chest.

Her attorney claims that teachers and other employees at the school made administrators aware on three occasions on 6 January that the boy had a gun with him.

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She is also suing Richneck Elementary School's former principal and assistant principal, the Newport News School Board and former superintendent George Parker III.

The school board let go superintendent Parker, while Assistant Principal Ebony Parker resigned after the shooting. The two are not related.

Abigail Zwerner is suing the school. Credit: NBC
Abigail Zwerner is suing the school. Credit: NBC

Principal Briana Foster-Newton, who claims she was not aware the boy had a gun, also resigned.

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Earlier this year, Pamela J. Branch, Foster-Newton’s attorney, said her client would 'vigorously defend any charges brought against her as a part of the lawsuit filed by Ms. Zwerner', while also 'exploring the possibility of a countersuit'.

The suit says: "Teachers’ concerns with John Doe’s behavior was regularly brought to the attention of Richneck Elementary School administration, and the concerns were always dismissed.

"Often when he was taken to the school office to address his behavior, he would return to the classroom shortly thereafter with some type of reward, such as a piece of candy."

Meanwhile, Taylor is still facing a separate sentencing on for felony and child neglect.

Topics: News, US News, Crime, Gun Crime

Callum Jones
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