Search warrants that were recently unsealed shed light on the statements made by a 6-year-old student following the shooting of a teacher at a local elementary school. According to the warrants, a staff member who restrained the boy reported that he admitted to shooting the teacher and claimed to have obtained his mother’s gun the night before the incident.
The shooting, which took place at Richneck Elementary School, had raised concerns among school staff members prior to the incident. One staff member, Amy Kovac, a reading specialist at the school, had heard from two students on the day of the shooting that the 6-year-old had a gun in his backpack. Kovac and a school administrator searched the student’s backpack during recess but did not find a gun. However, upon returning to the classroom, Kovac heard a gunshot and witnessed several children fleeing. She then saw the injured teacher, identified as Zwerner, running out of the classroom with bleeding wounds.
Kovac entered the classroom and found the 6-year-old standing by his desk with a gun on the floor next to him. She held the boy in place until the police arrived. During this time, the boy allegedly made several statements, including admitting to shooting the teacher and claiming to have obtained his mother’s gun the previous night.
Zwerner, the injured teacher, provided her account of the incident to investigators while at the hospital. She stated that after returning from recess, she divided her students into groups for a reading activity when she noticed the 6-year-old pulling out a gun from his jacket pocket and pointing it at her. Zwerner asked him what he was doing, and the student fired a shot, injuring her hand and torso. Zwerner also revealed that there had been previous disciplinary incidents involving the boy, including physical violence and threats of violence, which had been reported to school administrators.
In the days following the shooting, detectives interviewed a retired elementary school teacher who had been assigned to Richneck. The retired teacher disclosed that she had been choked by the same student who later shot Zwerner in September 2021. The search warrant revealed that this incident was not found in the limited school records obtained from Child Protective Services, leading to concerns about the school’s reporting practices.
The 6-year-old student has not been charged in connection with the shooting. However, his mother, Deja Taylor, is facing charges related to the case, including felony child neglect and leaving a firearm in a way that could endanger a child. Taylor’s lawyer, James Ellenson, has stated that they are seeking a plea deal for the charges, citing Taylor’s mental health issues following an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.
In addition to the state charges, Taylor also faces federal gun and drug charges. She has already pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a controlled substance while she was in possession of a firearm, as well as making a false statement while purchasing a firearm. Taylor is scheduled to appear in court for these charges on October 18th.
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