Deja Taylor, the mother of the 6-year-old who shot and injured his first grade teacher, finally spoke out in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Taylor was previously charged with felony child neglect as a result of her son obtaining her firearm, per The Associated Press.
Authorities say Taylor’s firearm was legally purchased and according to her attorney, was secured on the highest shelf of her closet with a trigger lock. There are still no details as to how he got a hold of the gun. But alas, he brought the firearm to school and into Abigail Zwerner’s class where he shot a bullet through her hand and into her chest.
Taylor told GMA her son has a more severe case of ADHD, describing her son as “off the wall” and unable to sit still. Because of his behavior, the child was enrolled in a plan at school requiring a family member to accompany him to class every day, though the week of the shooting was the first time he didn’t have an escort. She explained he was showing improvements after starting medication is the reason why he didn’t have the escort.
Attorneys for Zwerner said he’d been acting violently weeks leading up to the shooting, including on the very day before when he was suspended. However, Taylor said her son spoke highly of Zwerner but the day before the shooting, he was upset when Zwerner told him to take a seat after he asked a question. As a result, he threw his arms up, knocking her phone out of her hand causing it to break.
Zwerner expressed in her first interview following the incident that she’d been repeatedly concerned about the student’s behavior after hearing he had violent run-ins with his previous teachers. As a result of those incidents, he was moved to Richneck Elementary.
No Charges for The Child
Prosecutors declined charging the boy for his actions because he is too young to understand the legal process and court proceedings. Though, Taylor is now facing criminal accountability for the shooting.
Read more from AP News:
Taylor was charged last month with felony neglect and reckless storage of a firearm. A trial date of Aug. 15 has been set. Ellenson has said Taylor wants to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors.
The felony neglect charge is punishable by up to five years in prison. The misdemeanor charge of recklessly storing a firearm is punishable by up to one year in jail. The boy will not be prosecuted.
Taylor told GMA she does feel responsible for the her son’s actions and apologized to Zwerner for what happened.
“That is my son, so I am, as a parent, obviously willing to take responsibility for him because he can’t take responsibility for himself. I just truly would like to apologize ... she did get hurt. We were actually kind of forming a relationship with me having to be in the classroom. And she is really a bright person,” said Taylor.