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Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher speaks publicly

The mother of a 6-year-old Virginia student is speaking out publicly about the moment her son shot his teacher and what led up to it.
Posted at 5:37 PM, May 11, 2023

Deja Taylor, the mother of the 6-year-old that shot teacher Abby Zwerner at Richneck Elementary School on Jan. 6, spoke in an exclusive interview to Good Morning America on Wednesday. 

"He has ADHD. Some are able to have it at a very mild rate," Taylor told ABC's Linsey Davis in the interview. 

The student was under a care plan at the school that required his mother or father to be in class with him. The week of the shooting was the first week his family didn't attend class with him. 

"He had started medication and he was meeting his goals academically," Taylor said, when asked why he was in class without a parent. 

Taylor said that her son "actually really liked" Zwerner, but felt like he was being ignored. Taylor described an incident her son had with Zwerner that led to him being suspended. 

Zwerner had asked the student to sit down, and he then "threw his arms up, he said fine and when he threw his arms up, he knocked her phone out of her hand, on accident. And he got suspended for that," said Taylor. 

The grandfather of the 6-year-old said the boy doesn't talk about the day of the shooting.

When asked about the gun used, the family's attorney James Ellenson said "nobody knows" how he accessed the weapon. 

When asked again, Ellenson responded, "We're not ready to discuss that at this point" adding "I don't know that any adult knows exactly how he got the gun." 

Taylor says that as his parent, she accepts responsibility for his actions. 

"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," Taylor said. 

When asked if the family had anything to say to Abby Zwerner, Taylor said they actually began forming a relationship due to her being in class with her son. 

"I just truly would like to apologize that, you know, out of the incident she did get hurt," Taylor said. 

"We were actually kind of forming like a relationship with me having to be in the classroom. She was a really bright person," Taylor said. 

Taylor is facing charges of felony child neglect and recklessly leaving a firearm to endanger a child. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison. 

This story was originally published by Heather Eckstine of Scripps News Norfolk in Virginia. 

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