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Mother of boy, 6, who shot teacher is sentenced to 21 months in prison

The mother of a six-year-old boy who shot a teacher in his elementary school in Virginia with an illegal gun has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Deja Taylor, the 26-year-old mother of the boy, was sentenced by chief US district judge Mark S Davis for federal convictions related to the weapon used in the shooting.

First-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner survived the wounds from the 9mm semiautomatic pistol in January at the Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The boy fired a bullet through Ms Zwerner’s upraised hand and into her chest as she was midway through teaching a lesson.

The boy, who is now seven years old, has not faced charges in the case. He recounted that on 6 January, he scaled a dresser to retrieve his mother’s gun from her purse. He then took the weapon to school in his backpack. According to both a court filing and the police, he discharged the firearm near the end of the school day.

Taylor pleaded guilty in the federal court in June to one count of possessing a firearm while being a drug user and one count of lying on a background check about her marijuana use while purchasing the handgun that her son used to open fire on his first-grade teacher.

Meanwhile, Ms Zwerner told the judge on Wednesday that she “was thrilled to be involved with them [children]” but that she would never set foot in a classroom again as a teacher, according to the Washington Post.

She had to undergo five surgeries after the shooting besides battling anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She told the judge that she had “nightmares of gore, blood and death, always involving firearms”.

“I feel as if I have lost my purpose,” Ms Zwerner said.

In her $40m lawsuit, Ms Zwerner claimed that Richneck assistant principal Ebony Parker neglected multiple warnings on the day of the shooting regarding the boy potentially carrying a gun.

Ms Zwerner further alleged that she informed Ms Parker about the boy being in a “violent mood” and threatening to harm another child shortly before the shooting occurred.

The lawsuit claimed that Ms Parker did not take any action despite the warnings.

Michelle Price, a spokesperson for the school district, said Ms Parker resigned from the school division in the aftermath of the shooting that stunned the city and reverberated around the country, raising questions about school security and how a child so young gained access to a gun and was able to fire it at his teacher.