NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A special grand jury has been appointed to investigate any additional information regarding “actions or omissions” by current or former Newport News Public Schools employees following the Richneck Elementary School shooting.
The petition continued by saying the investigation is warranted to determine:
- the full scope of any criminal activity that occurred
- The circumstances surrounding such activity
- To charge those persons who are criminally responsible for such acts or omission according to the law
- To make sure other recommendations as necessary to remedy those security failures in the hopes that such a situation never occurs again.
The circuit judge granted the petition and signed the order Monday. The order says the special grand jury will be composed of eleven jurors and shall serve a total of six months starting Monday.
The order continued by saying that the special grand jury shall “investigate and report on any condition that involves or tends to promote criminal activity, and shall consider bills of indictment related to such criminal activity.”
This comes after a Newport News grand jury 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.
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 Newport News School Board and three former administrators at the school.
Bill Boyd lives across the street from Deja Taylor, the mother of a six-year-old who shot his first-grade teacher. It has been the most talked about national story this year, and he had no idea Taylor lived across the street.
“This is shocking,” Boyd said. “Yes, I am very much surprised. I can’t wait to go share it with the rest of my neighbors. … It is shocking.”
It was shocking for every neighbor we spoke to out here.
“I’ve been wondering where the parents live, and I didn’t know they lived three doors down from me,” Boyd said.
10 On Your Side went to the house looking for Taylor at her home, and she still has not turned herself in, but NBC News is reporting she will do so by week’s end.
We knocked on Taylor’s door, but there was no answer. Then we heard music inside. Then it stopped, and then started again. There appeared to be someone in the house, but no one answered the door.
Following that, while standing on the public sidewalk a woman pulled up, got out, and went to the door.
10 On Your Side asked, “Are you Ms. Taylor? Can you identify yourself please?”
“Will you respectfully leave, or I will call the police,” she responded.
10 On Your Side asked if she was Ms. Taylor and if she would identify herself.
“Can you leave … or I will call police,” she said.
That person did call the police, but we were on a public street and public sidewalk and had every right to be there, which was acknowledged by police.
Boyd agrees with the charge against Taylor, recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child and felony child neglect.
“I feel like someone is responsible for leaving the gun where some kid could get to it,” Boyd said. “All firearms should be locked up, put away so no kids could get to it.”
We received this from the attorney for the families of the students in Abby Zwerner’s classroom
“My clients are pleased to see the justice system at work … I am confident that the criminal investigation has been, and will continue to be conducted in a thorough manner,” attorney Emily Brannon wrote.