A white Michigan man who fired a shotgun at a black teen just for asking for directions has a history of gun-related crime.
Jeff Zeigler, who was charged with assault with intent to murder on Friday, fired a gun at a car back in 2004 during a bout of road rage. Although he faced a felony charge over the 2004 incident, Zeigler ultimately ended up with one year of probation and some fines.
The teen, 14-year-old Brennan Walker, said that he knocked on Zeigler’s door because he was lost and needed directions to his high school after missing the bus. Zeigler’s wife, however, assumed that Walker was a burglar attempting to enter the home.
“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,” Walker told local news station WDIV. “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.”
Michigan law allows homeowners to use guns against intruders, but the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department said it reviewed surveillance footage from the property and came to the conclusion that Walker was telling the truth and that he was not attempting to break in. Zeigler’s bond is currently set at $50,000.
“I’m kind of happy that I didn’t become a statistic,” Walker told WDIV.
Walker’s mother, Lisa Wright, said there’s no doubt in her mind her son was attacked because of his race.
"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."
Cover image: Students run to buses at C.A. Frost Middle/High School as they were evacuated to nearby Netherlands Reformed Church, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)