On Friday, a Michigan jury found a 52-year-old white man guilty of assault with intent to injury after he shot at a Black teen from his front porch, according to The Detroit News.
The case stems from an April 12 incident where Brennan Walker, 14, approached the Zeigler household to ask for directions. Walker found himself in a Christian Hills subdivision after missing the school bus on his daily route.
When he knocked for help, Dana Zeigler answered the door. She said she was immediately frightened because she thought the teen was breaking in, and called 911 for help.
“I saw a black person standing at my door and I screamed at him and I asked him what he was doing there,” she said during her testimony in court this week. “He tells me that he is going to school and at that point he approaches the door, forward momentum, comes forward, opens the screen door, and puts his hand on the door handle again, as though he’s coming into my house.”
But her husband, a former Detroit firefighter named Jeffrey Zeigler, took the situation into his own hands and retrieved his shotgun.
Security footage from the incident shows Zeigler pointing his gun and firing in the direction of the teen as he runs away. Thankfully, Walker was not physically injured but suffered emotionally from the incident.
Zeigler says that he did not intend to fire directly at Walker but slipped.
“I wanted to fire more up in the air, more towards my shoulder, and I didn’t get the chance to because like I said, it was slippery, and I didn’t have a good grip on the gun,” Zeigler testified. “I felt extremely remorseful. And I was — I was just shocked.”
Lawyers for Zeigler argued that he was overcharged, citing that he’s been extremely apologetic after what happened.
But, police gave a different account of Zeigler’s initial account, saying that he voiced frustration when first questioned. “He looked at me and he said, ‘I’m tired of being a victim,'” Detective Shawn Pace said in court. According to Ziegler, his house had been burglarized five times prior.
Walker’s mother, Lisa Wright, says she believes race was the only factor in the exchange.
“Watching the tape, you can hear the wife say, ‘Why did these people choose my house?’ Who are ‘these people’? And that’s what — that set me off,” she said.
Zeigler will appear in court for sentencing on November 13 and faces up to 10 years in prison for the assault, plus a mandatory two years for the firearm count, Detroit news reports. The judge revoked his bond and ordered him to jail while he awaits sentencing.