Deja Taylor, the mother of a 6-year-old boy who brought a gun to his school in Newport News, Virginia, and shot his first-grade teacher
Deja Taylor is set to plead guilty to new federal felony charges
The 26-year-old Taylor is facing charges of unlawful use of a controlled substance while possessing a firearm and making a false statement during the firearm purchase process. The charges stem from Taylor’s possession of a semiautomatic handgun, as stated in the federal complaint.
In an effort to avoid taking the case to a grand jury, Taylor’s attorney, James Ellenson, confirmed that she has agreed to plead guilty. The terms of the agreement, deemed fair by all parties involved, will be revealed during the plea hearing. Ellenson also expressed his intention to present mitigating evidence and thanked the US attorney’s office for their cooperation during discussions.
In addition to the federal charges, Taylor has been indicted on state charges of felony child neglect and recklessly leaving a firearm accessible to a child. These charges come five months after the incident at Richneck Elementary School, where her 6-year-old son shot his teacher, Abigail Zwerner. Although Zwerner survived the shooting with injuries to her hand and chest, the incident sparked concerns about the availability of the gun.
The gun, a semiautomatic handgun, was purchased by Taylor and stored on the top shelf of her bedroom closet with a trigger lock. The child managed to bring the gun to school in his backpack, leading to the tragic event.
It is important to note that the child will not face criminal charges
The federal complaint alleges that Taylor knowingly made false statements when purchasing the handgun, specifically regarding her use of controlled substances. She falsely claimed on federal forms that she was not an unlawful user of any controlled substances while, in reality, she was using marijuana.
The well-being of all individuals involved, including the teacher and Taylor’s son, remains a top priority. As a result, the Commonwealth’s Attorney has requested the assembly of a special grand jury to investigate any security issues that may have contributed to the shooting.