Retired firefighter Jeffrey Zeigler was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison by an Oakland court for shooting at a black teenager who knocked on his door and asked for directions. NBC News reports that Zeigler, a white male, was sentenced to two years for one count of felony firearm and two to 10 years for one count of assault with intent.
The incident took place on April 12. The teen, Brennan Walker says that he’d gotten lost after missing his school bus that morning. He’d approached Zeigler’s house hoping to get assistance, he said in an interview with an NBC-affiliate in April.
“I knocked on the door, stepped back, knocked, stepped back, and then a lady came downstairs yelling at me,” Walker said. “I was running away… I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot,” Walker said.
According to NBC News, Zeigler initially claimed that he thought that the teen was trying to break into his home and used that story during his arraignment. His wife called the police and reported that an African American male was attempting to enter their home unlawfully.
But surveillance video revealed that the 53-year-old man initiated the aggression and aimed the firearm at the 14-year-old boy before he fired a round as Walker ran off.
Fortunately, Walker was not physically injured as a result of the incident but his mother, Lisa Wright, says that it has left him emotionally scarred. “This will affect my son forever,” she said and admitted that her son is currently in therapy because of what happened.
53 y o Jeffrey Zeigler, Rochester Hills, going to prison for 2 yrs on firearms charge, plus 2-10 yrs on assault charge for shooting at 14 y o 6’2” black teen who knocked on the door for directions to school early one morning in April. Tune in @WWJ950 and https://t.co/NcwIrwPs9B. pic.twitter.com/uyZVJ83cou— Mike Campbell (@reportermikec) November 13, 2018
Zeigler will serve his sentences consecutively which means that he will likely spend at least four years in prison.
Despite the sentence, Wright says that she doesn’t believe that he truly feels sorry for firing a gun at her son and endangering his life.
NBC reports that he apologized to her saying, “I have full remorse and regret and I wish I could change something, but we can’t go back in time.”
Zeigler was convicted for his crimes on October 12. A previous article by NBC News reports that the jury found that although he fired the shot, Zeigler did “not intend to kill Brennan Walker.”
According to the article, this isn’t the first time that he pointed his firearm at someone. In 2006, he was charged for doing so and ended up serving one year of probation. He was not convicted on a related charge of felonious assault with a dangerous firearm.
The case of a white man shooting at a young black man who knocked on his door for directions ended with a judge sentencing Zeigler to 4-10 years. The teen’s mother confronted the elephant in the room... the role she feels racism played in the shooting. @wxyzdetroit pic.twitter.com/8T1uGnmXQJ— Matthew Smith (@MattSmithWXYZ) November 13, 2018