(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) — The 6-year-old boy accused of shooting his first-grade teacher, Abby Zwerner, during class in Newport News, Virginia in January allegedly admitted to doing so that same day, according to newly released court documents.
Probable cause documents, provided to ABC News by ABC affiliate station WVEC in Norfolk, declare that in the minutes immediately following the January 6 shooting, the alleged shooter “made statements like, ‘I shot that b**** dead.’ And ‘I did it.’ ‘I got my mom’s gun last night.”
The documents also state that Deja Taylor, the mother of the 6-year-old alleged to have shot Zwerner, told police after the shooting that she believed on the morning of the shooting “that her firearm was stored in her purse with the trigger lock in place,” and that her purse was placed on top of her bedroom dresser. The documents also say Taylor told police that she “keeps the key for the gunlock [sic] under her bedroom mattress.”
Taylor pleaded guilty in June to using marijuana while in possession of a firearm, in this case, the 9mm semiautomatic handgun police say was used in the shooting. Federal prosecutors claimed Taylor “knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement” when she legally purchased the gun and claimed she did not use marijuana. She is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.
In January, Taylor told police she normally stores her firearm in her purse with a trigger lock in place, or in a lockbox. However, federal prosecutors said that a lockbox wasn’t found, nor was a key or trigger lock.
Taylor previously told ABC News that she last saw the gun when it was locked, and family attorney James Ellenson later said “nobody knows” how the boy obtained it.
Ellenson told ABC News on Tuesday, after the documents were released, that the 6-year-old alleged shooter “has had extreme emotional issues for some time and he is doing better every day thanks to therapy, his grandparents’ support and the amazing professionals working with him on his recovery.”
The newly released documents also shed light on the moments before and after the shooting. Police say Zwerner told them at the hospital, where she was taken after the shooting, that she observed the child standing by his desk, and that he “pulled a firearm out of his jacket pocket and pointed it” at Zwerner. When she asked him, “What are you doing with that?” the child shot her, striking her in her left hand and torso, according to the documents.
Moments later the boy was restrained by Richneck Elementary School reading specialist Amy Korvac, who told police she heard a gunshot as she was walking past Zwerner’s classroom. The child allegedly made the statements admitting to the shooting as Korvac restrained him while waiting for police to arrive.
Zwerner, who was hospitalized for nearly two weeks following the shooting and required several surgeries, has since resigned her teaching position at the school and has sued the school district for $40 million, claiming school officials had been warned three times the day of the shooting that the student had a gun, but dismissed the concerns.
“Since the tragedy at Richneck Elementary School in January, Newport News Public Schools has worked cooperatively with the Newport News Police Department and other authorities in support of the investigation,” school district officials said in a statement to ABC News Tuesday, in response to a request for comment. “While the school division cannot comment on legal actions, NNPS remains committed to ensuring the well-being and care of all students and staff.”
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