NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A Newport News grand jury has indicted the mother of the 6-year-old who shot his first grade teacher at Richneck Elementary in January.
Deja Taylor has been charged with felony child neglect and misdemeanor recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child.
The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office shared the grand jury’s indictment in a press release Monday.
“Every criminal case is unique in its facts, and these facts support these charges, but our investigation into the shooting continues,” Gwynn said.
This comes after Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said last month that no charges are expected to be brought against the 6-year-old.
He told NBC News that the “prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic” and that he doesn’t believe there’s a legal basis to charge the child.
Gwynn also announced Monday that he has petitioned the Newport News Circuit Court to empanel a special grand jury to investigate any security issues at Richneck that may have contributed to the shooting.
The child’s teacher, Abby Zwerner, survived the shooting and has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school district, alleging gross negligence and reckless breach of duty against the school board and three former administrators at the school. The suit says they failed to protect Zwerner against the student despite multiple warnings.
According to NBC News, James Ellenson, who is a lawyer for Taylor, says he was made aware of the indictments a grand jury returned on Monday and that Taylor will be “turning herself in later this week.”
The attorney for the families of the students who were in Zwerner’s classroom that day, Emily Brannon, released a brief statement following the indictment:
My clients are pleased to see the justice system at work. It is frustrating to the victims involved because our justice system does take time. I am confident that the criminal investigation has been and will continue to be conducted in a thorough manner to ensure that justice is served for the families of Richneck.Statement from Emily Brannon, attorney for families of kids in Zwerner’s classroom
Zwerner’s lawyer Diane Toscano shared this statement on Monday after news of the indictment:
There were failures in accountability at multiple levels that led to Abby being shot and almost killed. Today’s announcement addresses but one of those failures. It has been three months of investigation and still so many unanswered questions remain. Our lawsuit makes clear that we believe the school division violated state law, and we are pursuing this in civil court. We will not allow school leaders to escape accountability for their role in this tragedy.Statement from Diane Toscano, Abby Zwerner’s lawyer
10 On Your Side has reached out to James Ellenson but have yet to hear back.
This is breaking article and will be updated. Read all over WAVY’s coverage on the Richneck Elementary shooting here.