A retired firefighter has been charged with shooting at a black teenager who was asking for directions, but the man told the court there is more to the story.
Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, attended court on Friday on charges of assault with intent to murder and possessing a firearm after he shot at a black teenager who knocked on his door.
The teenager, Brennan Walker, 14, claims he missed his bus to Rochester High School, Michigan, and went up to the home to ask for directions on Thursday.
But during a court appearance, Zeigler disputed the 14-year-old’s version of events and said his wife was in tears after the teenager went up to their home in Rochester Hills.
Brennan Walker, 14, (left) said he tried to explain why he was there but had to run away after her husband fired a 12-gauge shotgun at him. Jeffrey Zeigler, 53 (right), was arrested and charged with assault with intent to murder and felony firearms violations
Lisa Wright (left), Walker’s mother, said she had taken away his phone as punishment. He stopped at a first door, got directions, then became lost again and knocked on a second door
Walker knocked on the door of this home on the 2200 block of South Christian Hills (pictured) and was allegedly met by a woman who asked: ‘Why are you trying to break into my house?’
‘There’s a lot more to the story than what’s being told and I believe that will come out in court,’ Zeigler told the judge. ‘I was in bed yesterday morning and my wife came in screaming and crying.’
However, Walker said he woke up late on Thursday morning and missed his bus, so he tried to walk his bus route but got lost.
Without his phone on him, he told WJBK that he saw a house with a ‘Neighborhood Watch’ sticker and knocked on the door to ask for directions.
‘She started yelling at me and she was like: “Why are you trying to break into my house?”‘ Walker told WJBK.
‘I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. And she kept yelling at me. Then [her husband] came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot,’ he said.
Deputies were called to the home on the 2200 block of South Christian Hills Drive after a woman told 911 that her husband had chased a black male who tried to break in, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
The release stated that Zeigler chased Walker with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired a round at him.
‘We do have the benefit of home security video,’ assistant prosecutor Kelly Collins told the court Friday.
The video was taken off of a surveillance camera on Zeigler’s doorbell.
Collins said how Walker described the altercation to police ‘did bear out’ to what was shown on the video.
Zeigler was charged with assault with intent to murder and felony firearms violations. He is being held at the Oakland County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Zeigler said Walker’s (pictured) version events is not accurate. During a court appearance, the retired firefighter claimed his wife came to him in tears because the teenager was trying to break into their home
Walker’s mother said investigators showed her a recording of the encounter captured by the home’s doorbell monitor and she said she knew the attack was racially motivated when she heard the wife ask: ‘Why did these people choose my house?’
Investigators say they contacted Walker’s mother Lisa Wright. She told WJBK that the only reason Zeigler missed her son was because he forgot to remove the safety.
Walker’s mother said investigators showed her a recording of the encounter captured by the home’s doorbell monitor.
‘After watching the video and hearing the wife say “Why did these people choose my house?” I knew it was racially motivated,’ Wright told WXYZ-TV. ‘I don’t know what other “these people” she could possibly have been talking about. He was by himself.’
Wright told WDIV that she had taken away her son’s phone as punishment and was working an overnight shift and did not get off until 8am.
Walker told the station that he stopped at a first house, was given directions and then got lost again. It was the second door he knocked on where he encountered the man with the gun.