A grand jury indicted the mother of the 6-year-old boy who shot his first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia earlier this year.
The child’s mother, Deja Taylor was indicted on charges of felony child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child, the office of Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said
Taylor’s lawyer said she will turn herself in later this week. Felony child neglect with “reckless disregard for human life,” carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. The misdemeanor charge of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm carries a sentence of up to one year in prison.
The child will not be criminally charged.
On January 6, the boy, who has not been identified, shot his teacher Abigail Zwerner, 25, once in the chest with a gun authorities say was legally purchased by his mother.
The boy’s family previously said in a statement that the gun “was secured,” and that the family “has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children.”
The family also said the boy suffers from an “acute disability” and was under a care plan at the school which involved a family member accompanying him to classes. In the week of the incident no one was there with him.
Zwerner filed a $40 million negligence lawsuit last week against school district officials.
In a statement on Monday, Diane Toscano, Zwerner’s attorney welcomed the charges but said more needs to be done, according to NBC News.
“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,” Toscano said. “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.”