A jury panel on Tuesday viewed shocking security footage of 53-year-old retired Detroit fireman Jeffrey Zeigler firing his shotgun at a Black teen who’d knocked on his door to ask for directions, the Oakland Press reported.
Zeigler faces attempted murder and felony firearm charges in the April 12 shooting where he nearly killed 14-year-old Brennan Walker. Walker, a freshman at Rochester High School, told investigators he’d gotten lost on his way to school after missing the bus and stopped at Zeigler’s Rochester Hills home for help.
After knocking on the door, the teen said he was met by Zeigler’s wife, who accused him of trying to rob their home. It wasn’t long before Walker says Zeigler came running down the stairs with his shotgun in hand.
The former fireman maintains he and his wife thought it was an attempted break-in and claims he accidentally slipped while running outside, causing his gun to discharge. Video of the incident captured by Zeigler’s home surveillance tells a different story, however.
In the footage, Zeigler appears to aim straight for the teen before firing. Luckily, Walker was already a safe distance away, as he took off running as soon as he saw the shotgun.
“My mom says that Black boys get shot because sometimes they don’t look their age, and I don’t look my age. I’m 14; but I don’t look 14,” the freshman told Fox 2 Detroit earlier this year. “I’m kind of happy that, like, I didn’t become a statistic.”
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office detective Shawn Pace said seeing the footage changed his mind about what had allegedly happened at the Zeigler home, dispelling their initial claims of an attempted home invasion. The detective also pointed out inconsistencies in Zeigler’s story, saying the Michigan man had denied ever pointing his gun at Walker.
“When I saw that video, my thought process switched … I knew which direction I had to go,” Pace testified in court, adding that he was “charged up” by what he had seen. “I was shocked.”
Pace told the court that when he told Zeigler he’d clearly aimed at the teen, Zeigler “took a big drink of water” and replied, “I’m tired of being a victim.”
Per The Detroit Metro Times, Zeigler’s trial is expected to resume Friday.