Crime

Virginia Mother Sentenced for Child Neglect Following 6-Year-Old’s School Shooting That Injured Teacher

The mother of a 6-year-old Virginia boy responsible for shooting and injuring his first-grade teacher earlier this year has received a two-year prison sentence for child neglect. Initially pleading guilty to the state felony child neglect charge in August, Deja Taylor’s sentencing was disclosed on Friday by the Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Taylor’s five-year sentence includes three years suspended, and she will undergo two years of supervised probation, involving substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, and mental health treatment.

In addition to the state charges, Taylor was sentenced last month to 21 months in prison on two federal felony charges related to using marijuana while possessing a firearm and providing false information about her drug use during the firearm purchase.

The investigation into the January 6, 2023, shooting at Richneck Elementary is ongoing, as stated by the Newport News Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. The incident left first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner seriously injured, with a bullet passing through her hand and striking her chest.

Zwerner, 25, has undergone four surgeries, retaining a lodged bullet in her body. Despite the severity of the incident, she expressed gratitude, stating that the bullet going through her hand likely saved her life. ABC News reports that Zwerner also testified at Taylor’s hearing.

Zwerner, who also testified at Taylor’s hearing, spoke about the enduring physical and psychological scars from the incident. She emphasized daily struggles with deep psychological trauma, both in waking moments and dreams Zwerner told the TODAY show in March.

Furthermore, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school district, alleging negligence by school administrators, according to NBC News.

For more information on safe firearm storage and the most effective ways to protect children from unsecured firearms, visit BeSMARTforkids.org.

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