The mother of the 6-year-old who allegedly shot his teacher at an elementary school in Newport News, Virginia, spoke exclusively Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“He has ADHD. Some are able to have it at a very mild rate,” Deja Taylor told ABC’s Linsey Davis in the interview. “He’s off the wall, doesn’t sit still – ever.”
Taylor’s 6-year-old child shot his teacher Abigail Zwerner in January. Zwerner, a 25-year-old teacher at Richneck Elementary School, suffered gunshot wounds to her hand and chest but survived. Taylor was charged in April with felony child neglect and one count of recklessly leaving a firearm to endanger a child.
Because of the student’s “acute disability,” one of his parents was usually in the classroom with him, according to a statement previously released by his family. Taylor said family members stopped attending classes with him the week of the shooting because “he had started medication” and “was meeting his goals academically.”
Taylor said her son “actually really liked” Zwerner but felt like he was being ignored in school.
Taylor described an incident in class after Zwerner asked him to sit down, saying, “He 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.”
In the wake of the shooting, Zwerner filed a lawsuit against school administrators and the school board alleging they were aware of the student’s “history of random violence” and did not act proactively amid concerns over a firearm in the boy’s possession on the day of the shooting, according to the lawsuit obtained by CNN.
Davis pressed the family and family attorney – twice – on how the child accessed the gun.
When asked the first time, family attorney James Ellenson said, “Nobody knows.”
Davis asked Ellenson again.
“We’re not ready to discuss that at this point,” he said, adding, “I don’t know that any adult knows exactly how he got the gun.”
The gun was purchased by Taylor and was kept on the top shelf of her bedroom closet, secured by a trigger lock, Ellenson told CNN in January. The child brought the gun to school in his backpack, police said.
The child will not be criminally charged, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said in March.
Taylor said that as a parent, she accepts responsibility for the shooting and apologized to Zwerner.
“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.