Jeffrey Zeigler is in jail after police outside Detroit say the white homeowner fired a shotgun at a black teenager who missed a bus and knocked on Zeigler’s door asking for directions.
Police responded to a 911 call from a woman who said a black teenager, Brennan Walker, tried to break into their home, saying that her husband chased down the boy and shot at him. But as the New York Post reported, a review of surveillance footage told a different story, showing that the boy only knocked on the family’s door and was not trying to break into the home.
Authorities said that the 53-year-old Zeigler was not adept at handling the shotgun and had trouble firing it, allowing the boy to run away and be missed by the shot. The teenager later came across police who had been called, telling them that he was not breaking into the home.
Fifty-three-year-old Zeigler is standing by his story, however.
“There’s a lot more to the story than what’s being told and I believe that will come out in court,” he said in court this week. “I was in bed yesterday morning and my wife came screaming and crying…”
Judge Julie Nicholson then stopped Zeigler, who was appearing without an attorney present.
Brennan Walker said he woke late for school and got lost in a subdivision while trying to find a bus stop. He knocked on the door of Zeigler’s home and said a woman inside yelled, “Why are you tryin to break into my house?”
“She didn’t really give me a chance to speak a lot, and I was trying to tell her that I go to Rochester High and I was looking for directions,” Brennan told the New York Times. “A few moments later the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the shotgun.”
Brennan’s mother, Lisa Wright, said she thought that the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills was supposed to be a safe place and said the incident was reminiscent of the killing of Trayvon Martin, a teenager shot to death in an upscale Florida suburb after he was mistaken for a burglar.
The shooting has gained national attention, especially in the wake of several high-profile incidents in which unarmed black men and teenagers were killed by police. Brennan Walker’s mother said she is taking extra precautions with the boy from now on, warning him not to wear hoodies or to walk with his head down so he would not be mistaken for a criminal and shot at again.