Newport News, Virginia teacher Abigail Zwerner was teaching her first grade class on Jan. 6, 2023 when one of her students pulled out a gun and shot the educator. She sprung into action and ushered the rest of her kids out of the classroom before tending to her injuries. The incident caused national outrage aimed at the child’s parents. Today (April 10), the child’s mother came one step closer to facing justice.
Deja Nicole Taylor was indicted by a grand jury on charges of felony child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a firearm so as to endanger a child. According to The Daily Press, prosecutors have also asked a Circuit Court judge to assemble a “special grand jury” to “continue the investigation into any security issues that may have contributed to this shooting.” The Richneck Elementary School teacher alerted multiple administrators that day that one of her students had a gun on him, but they failed to act. As a result, these staff members and others at Newport News Public Schools could also face consequences.
Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit in January seeking to place blame on those in authority who ignored her warnings. The Newport News Commonwealth Attorney’s Office said today that “the facts and the law support charging Deja Taylor” for failing to keep a gun out of her son’s hands. The charges come “after a thorough investigation by Newport News Police Department and this office.”
“[Prosecutors’] investigation will continue as long as necessary to determine whether others are criminally responsible for the shooting of Jan. 6,” the Attorney’s Office wrote in a news release this afternoon. Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn emphasized that the evidence was outstanding in this incident. “Every criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues,” he said.
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