The mother of the 6-year-old boy who shot and nearly killed his 1st grade teacher at a Virginia elementary school earlier this year pleaded guilty to felony child neglect Tuesday.
Deja Taylor owned the gun her son took to Richneck Elementary School in January when police say the boy intentionally shot Abby Zwerner while she was teaching a lesson at the reading table near the end of the school day.
The bullet hit Zwerner in the hand and chest, causing severe injuries. The teacher spent nearly two weeks in the hospital before being released.
In April, Taylor was charged with felony child neglect and a misdemeanor count of reckless storing of a firearm in the incident.
In a plea deal this week, Taylor pleaded guilty to the felony, and in return, prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge promised not to seek a sentence longer than state guidelines, which in this case is a six-month jail sentence.
Taylor maintains she doesn’t know how her son got a hold of the gun he used to shoot his teacher. Taylor’s attorneys claim the gun was stored on the top shelf of a bedroom closet with a trigger lock, according to The Washington Post.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched her home several times and never found a safety device, Fox News reports.
In a interview with ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” Taylor said she takes responsibility for her son and his actions.
“I am, as a parent, obviously willing to take responsibility for him because he can’t take responsibility,” Taylor said in the interview.
In June, Taylor pleaded guilty in a federal case for using marijuana while possessing a firearm. She also admitted to lying about her marijuana usage in order to buy the gun, The Post reported.
As for the teacher, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit in April against the Newport News School District and Richneck Elementary officials. The lawsuit claims they ignored warning signs about the student’s violent behavior and concerns that he might have a weapon at school the same day she was shot.
Zwerner said the student had a history of random violence. The day of the shooting, Zwerner said she told an assistant principal, Ebony Parker ,the boy threatened to beat up a kindergartner and was in a “violent mood.”
Amy Kovac, a reading specialist at Richneck, claimed she informed Parker of the possibility that the student brought a gun to school after two students told her so.
Parker resigned and the superintendent was fired following the incident, as parents and teachers blamed officials for not doing enough, The Post reported.
The boy remains in the legal custody of Calvin Taylor, his grandfather, who reportedly says he’s in school elsewhere and getting therapy.