Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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Mom of 6-year-old who shot teacher sentenced to 21 months in federal case

The mother of a 6-year-old who shot his first-grade teacher in a Virginia classroom was sentenced on Wednesday to one year and nine months in prison after pleading guilty in June to using marijuana while owning a firearm and making false statements about drug use.

The sentencing of the 26-year-old mother, Deja Taylor, was the latest development in a shooting that shocked the country in January when the authorities detailed how a child had retrieved a gun from his home, put it in his backpack and brought it to Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va.

There, the authorities said, the boy pulled out the gun in a classroom, aimed it at his teacher, Abigail Zwerner, and fired. The bullet passed through her hand and struck her chest, causing serious injuries.

Although recreational marijuana is allowed in Virginia, federal laws prohibit addicted or “unlawful” drug users from owning a gun.

Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern Virginia argued that Ms. Taylor was a “marijuana abuser whose chronic, persistent and, indeed, life-affecting abuse” extended the case beyond any sort of recreational use.

Ms. Taylor’s lawyer, Gene Rossi, said by phone on Wednesday that his client feels “contrite about the unintended consequences from her actions.”

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