Speed Reads

Breaking Her silence

Mother of 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher speaks out

The mother of a 6-year-old boy who allegedly shot his teacher is speaking out for the first time, saying she is "willing to take responsibility for him."

In an interview with ABC's Good Morning AmericaDeja Taylor said her son was a "great kid," but "very energetic" due to his diagnosis of ADHD. "He's off the wall. Doesn't sit still, ever," she added. 

Taylor's son made national headlines this past January, when he allegedly shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner, in his classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. Zwerner is recovering from her injuries and has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school, which she says ignored multiple warnings that Taylor's son had a gun. 

Prosecutors have since charged Taylor with a felony count of child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a firearm as to endanger a child. She could face up to six years in prison if convicted. 

Taylor reiterated that she was willing to be responsible for her son's actions. She said he "actually really liked" Zwerner, but had recently "felt like he was being ignored."

While Zwerner's lawsuit alleges that the child had a "history of random violence" and that he "attacked students and teachers alike," Taylor's attorney, James Ellenson, said the shooting was ultimately the fault of the school. Ellenson alleges the school had enrolled Taylor's son in first grade, despite knowing he only attended two months each of preschool and kindergarten. 

"If they believed all of these behaviors to be true, then they should not have allowed him" to move to a higher grade, Ellenson said. "They should've put him back into kindergarten, possibly even pre-K, but at the minimum to kindergarten."

Taylor said she had legally purchased the gun used in the shooting, and does not know how her son retrieved the weapon.