The mother of a 6-year-old boy who seriously injured his teacher with a gun in January will face charges in the shooting, a local prosecutor in Virginia said Monday.
A grand jury indicted Deja Taylor on felony child neglect and misdemeanor reckless leaving a loaded firearm to endanger a child, said Howard Gwynn, attorney for Newport News Commonwealth. The indictment comes a month after Gwynn said he would not press charges against the student.
«Each criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues,» Gwynn said in a statement Monday.
His office also asked a circuit court to appoint a special grand jury to continue an investigation into possible security lapses that may have led to the shooting.
«If the Special Grand Jury determines that other individuals are criminally responsible under the law, they may bring additional charges,» Gwynn said.
An attorney for Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday about the charges.
A week ago, injured teacher Abigail Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging Richneck Elementary School administrators shrugged off multiple warnings from staff and students who believed the boy had a weapon and posed a threat. imminent the day of the shooting on January 1st. 6.
The student shot Zwerner with a 9mm pistol while she was sitting at a reading table in her first-grade classroom, according to authorities.
Newport News police praised Zwerner for managing to escort her class of about 20 students to safety even after she was seriously injured in her left hand and chest. Police said the shooting was intentional.
More on the Virginia school shooting
The boy’s family said in an earlier statement that the gun was «secured» at the home and that they «have always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children.»
The family also said the boy is acutely disabled and was receiving the «treatment he needs» under court-ordered temporary detention at a medical facility.
According to police, his mother legally bought the gun he used, but they have not said how she got it or if it was safe as the family claims.
In the aftermath of the incident, an assistant principal accused of ignoring warnings resigned, and the superintendent of schools, George Parker III, was removed by the school board «without cause.»
The district also implemented metal detectors and installed a full-time security guard at Richneck.
«The safety and well-being of our staff and students is our highest priority,» the Newport News school board said in an earlier statement, adding that officials «will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure a safe teaching and learning environment.» safe and secure all over the world». all our schools.
The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Zwerner’s lawsuit also alleges that the school district knew the boy had a history of violence and was required to have a parent accompany him during the school day, but on the day of the shooting, no parent was with him and he was not assigned. a monitor.
The family’s lawyer, James Ellenson, said this month that the allegations in the complaint involving the 6-year-old boy «should be taken with a grain of salt.»
«Of course, we continue to pray for Ms. Zwerner’s full recovery,» he said.
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Chelsea Damberg contributed.