A retired Detroit firefighter is facing life in prison for allegedly shooting at a black teenager who knocked on the man’s door in Rochester Hills, Michigan to ask for directions to school, according to police.
Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, was arrested Thursday after a woman called 911 to report that her husband chased a black male who they thought was trying to break in. According to CBS News, Zeigler was arraigned Friday on a charge of assault with intent to murder.
Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies learned a shot was fired at Brennan Walker, 14. The boy was not injured.
Walker told FOX 2 that he woke up late Thursday morning and missed the bus. He tried to walk along his bus route to Rochester High School, but got lost along the way. He also did not have his phone since his mother took it away from him, so he knocked on a stranger’s door to ask for directions.
“I got to the house, and I knocked on the lady’s door,” Walker said. “Then she started yelling at me and she was like, ‘Why are you trying to break into my house?’ I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. And she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot.”
The man missed, and Walker ran from the scene in tears.
“My mom says that, black boys get shot because sometimes they don’t look their age, and I don’t look my age. I’m 14; but I don’t look 14,” Walker told FOX 2. “I’m kind of happy that, like, I didn’t become a statistic.”
During his arraignment, Zeigler said there was more to the story that had not come out yet.
“I was in bed yesterday morning when my wife started screaming and crying,” Ziegler said. “I am asking that I stay in the same house and keep my family together, I’m begging.”
FOX 2 reports that security camera footage shows Ziegler going downstairs to point a 12-gauge shotgun at Walker. The video has not been made public, but Walker’s mother Lisa said she saw it.
“One of the things that stands out, that probably angers me the most is, while I was watching the tape, you can hear the wife say, ‘Why did ‘these people’ choose my house?'” she told Fox 2. “Who are, ‘these people?’ And that set me off. I didn’t want to believe it was what it appeared to look like. When I heard her say that, it was like, but it is [what it looks like].”
The judge issued a $50,000 cash bond with conditions, including ordering Ziegler to keep 10 miles away from Walker’s home. He will also have to wear a GPS tether.
According to ClickOnDetroit.com, Zeigler was previously charged with felonious assault with a dangerous weapon, aiming without malice and felony firearms in 2006. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year of probation, according to court documents.
Zeigler is due back in court on April 24. A preliminary hearing is set for May 1.
Photo credit: Fox 2