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Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher facing federal charges

Federal documents outline how Deja Taylor is accused of knowing she was an unlawful user of marijuana when she possessed and purchased a gun.
Deja Taylor walking on sidewalk.
Posted at 10:12 AM, Jun 06, 2023

The mother of the 6-year-old boy accused of shooting his teacher earlier this year is now facing federal gun and drug charges.

Deja Taylor is the mother of the child who gained international attention when police say he opened fire on his teacherat Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, on Jan. 6.

Federal documents outline how Taylor is accused of knowing she was an unlawful user of marijuana when she possessed and purchased a gun from a gun shop in Grafton, Virginia. 

Previously, the 25-year-old mom was charged in Newport News Circuit Court with felony child neglect and a misdemeanor for leaving a firearm that could endanger a child. She has a court date for those charges in mid-August. 

Abigail Zwerner in a school hallway

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Abigail Zwerner says the school was aware of the student's violent history and refused to take action despite repeated warnings that he had a gun.


The purchase of the gun took place on or around July 19, 2022, according to court records.  Taylor is also accused of filing false information on the gun paperwork.

When you buy a gun, you are asked if you use or are addicted to controlled substances, including marijuana, on the required documents.

Her attorney, Jimmy Ellenson, said his client plans to plead guilty to the new charges. 

"We’ve come to an agreement and a resolution, which I think will be satisfactory to all parties," he said. 

He said she has been fully cooperative since the shooting took place and has taken responsibility from the beginning. He added that she feels awful that the teacher was shot. 

"She (Taylor) gave interviews to the police the day this occurred and gave another interview the week after.  We consented to a search of her mom's house. We consented to an iPhone download as well, so she has been cooperative from day one," said Ellenson. 

Taylor is expected to have a court hearing for the new federal charges within the next week or two. 

This story was originally published by Margaret Kavanagh at Scripps News Norfolk.