Richneck Shooting Developments

Mother of 6-year-old shooter charged and potential countersuit from former principal

Pamela Branch, the lawyer of former Richneck Elementary Principal, Briana Foster-Newton, has stated that the likeliness of a countersuit against 25-year-old Abby Zwerner’s lawsuit is high.

In the statement obtained by WTKR, Branch stated, “it has been brought to our attention that prior to the shooting, another student in Ms. Zwerner’s class warned her in class that the 6-year-old shooter had a gun, and Ms. Zwerner allegedly told the student to sit down and be quiet.”

Two days before the shooting, the 6-year-old boy had allegedly been suspended for two days for smashing the teacher’s cellphone. Upon being allowed to return, he was required to be under modified supervision, meaning a parent had to be with him during the day, The Daily Press reported.

“If this is true, Ms. Zwerner may have been able to avoid the injury she suffered and this will certainly impact her claimed damages,” the lawyer continued. Former principal Foster-Newton went on to say that the student was never reported to her.

The final suit that Zwerner is filing is for gross negligence and she asks for $40 million dollars, as well as a trial by Jury in Newport News.

As of April 10, Deja Nicole Taylor, 25, the mother of the 6-year-old boy, is being held accountable for the incident and is being charged for the shooting of Zwerner. The mother of the child is being charged with felony child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a firearm so as to endanger a child, which can result in 6 years behind bars, The Daily Press reported. Taylor can be charged for the crime, even if the child was not hurt.

Police Chief Steve Drew of Newport News stated that the 6-year-old used his mothers handgun, a Taurus 9mm in the shooting, WTKR reported. 

Taylor’s lawyer, James Ellenson, has stated that the handgun used in the shooting was securely kept by a trigger lock in his client’s bedroom closet on the top shelf.

Taylor has no idea how the boy “gained access” to the gun on the day of the shooting, Ellenson later stated.

The Daily Press has also stated that Taylor has no previous criminal record.

Mother of 6-year-
old shooter charged

and potential
countersuit from
former principal