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Mother of 6-year-old boy who shot Richneck teacher speaks out in exclusive 'GMA' interview

Deja Taylor, 25, told Good Morning America in an exclusive interview that she will take responsibility for her son's actions.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The mother of the 6-year-old boy who shot Richneck Elementary School teacher Abby Zwerner spoke out in an exclusive interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning.

The interview comes after Deja Taylor, 25, was indicted by a Newport News grand jury in April on a charge of felony child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of endangering a child by reckless storage of a firearm.

She made her first court appearance on April 14 and has a bench trial set for Aug. 15.

READ MORE | Mother of 6-year-old who shot Richneck teacher makes court appearance

In the interview, Taylor revealed that her son's actions could be linked to his ADHD diagnosis. She said she is willing to take responsibility for him because he can't take responsibility for himself, ABC News reports.

Taylor explained that her son "actually really liked" Zwerner and said he felt ignored during the week of the shooting.

Referring to an incident two days before the shooting where the boy allegedly broke Zwerner's phone, Taylor said it happened after Zwerner said she told him to sit down when he was asking her a question. As a result, the boy was suspended. 

"You know, most children, when they are trying to talk to you, and if you easily just brush them off, or you ask them to sit down, or you're dealing with something else and you ask them to go and sit down, at 6 [years old] you -- in your mind would believe that, 'Somebody's not listening to me,' and you have a tantrum," Taylor told ABC.

Taylor's attorney, James Ellenson, also spoke out, saying school officials are ultimately responsible for the shooting because the boy was prematurely enrolled in first grade despite only attending two months of kindergarten and two months of pre-K.

"If they believed all of these behaviors to be true, then they should not have allowed him to advance to a higher level," Ellenson told ABC. "They should've put him back into kindergarten, possibly even pre-K, but at the minimum to kindergarten."

It's still unclear to this day how the boy got his hands on the gun. Four months later, Taylor and her attorney maintain the fact that she secured the gun in her home.

"Yes, people have talked to him about that," said Ellenson. "I don't know that any adult knows exactly how he got the gun."

ABC News also spoke with Calvin Taylor, the great-grandfather of the boy who now has legal custody of him. He and Taylor said the boy had started medication and was meeting his academic goals prior to the shooting.

"He was more attentive, he tried to follow along, he tried to do the coursework," Calvin Taylor told ABC. "But in all fairness to the other kids in the class, sometimes it was just too much for him."

When asked what she would like to say to Zwerner, Taylor told ABC, "I just would truly like to apologize. Out of the incident, she did get hurt. We were actually kind of forming a relationship with me having to be in the classroom. She's a really bright person." 

Taylor's felony neglect charge is punishable by up to five years in prison. The misdemeanor charge of recklessly storing a firearm is punishable by up to one year in jail. 

13News Now reached out to Toscano Law Group attorneys representing Zwerner. The attorneys said they have not discussed doing more interviews with Zwerner and do not have a comment on what Taylor said in her interview. 

Ellenson has said Taylor wants to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors.

At this time, Taylor is the only person charged in this case. Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney, Howard Gwynn, said the law does not support charging the boy, but he said more charges could be pressed, pending the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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