Ex-firefighter sentenced to 4 years for shooting a black teen who asked for directions to school
Jeffrey Zeigler has been sentenced for almost killing a young teen back in April 2018. The young boy was only asking for directions at the time.
Brennan Walker, 14, is only alive today due to a stroke of luck. When Zeigler pointed a shotgun at him on April 12, he could have been hit.
At the time, the young boy had missed the bus to school and was asking for directions. Walker explained that when he knocked on a nearby door a woman answered.
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14-year-old Brennan Walker got lost on his walk to school & stopped at a house to ask for directions. Jeffrey Zeigler thought Walker was trying to break in so he shot at the teen.— The Black Detour (@theblackdetour) October 13, 2018
Yesterday a jury found Zeigler guilty of the shooting.
Full story = https://t.co/DMEpUprqa1 pic.twitter.com/Sq8pungYN9
But instead of listening, the woman shouted out to her husband Zeigler. She said someone was trying to break in.
The 53-year-old then came running down the stairs with no shirt on and holding a gun. Walker caught sight of the man and immediately took off running. Zeigler pointed the gun in his direction and shot at him once.
Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, is sentenced to 4-12 yrs on firearms and assault convictions for shooting at a teen who knocked on his door in Rochester Hills. Brennan Walker says he was walking to school after missing a bus and needed directions. He was not hit by the gunshot. @WWJ950. pic.twitter.com/Q7NvRsFJJJ— Mike Campbell (@reportermikec) November 14, 2018
During the court proceedings in the Oakland County courtroom, Walker's mother Lisa Wright was present. According to Business Insider, she insisted it was obvious that race played a factor in the incident.
"I try to keep race out of it, but we all know that's what it was," Wright said to the judge.
Zeigler first claimed that he tripped and the gun went off accidentally. But surveillance cameras revealed this to be inaccurate.
He then attempted to defend himself by saying he meant to give a warning shot in the air. The former firefighter said he was full of "remorse and regret" after what happened.
Wright is not buying. She said:
“I don’t feel like he’s remorseful. I don’t feel like he’s shown remorse.”
Regarding the effects on the 14-year-old, assistant prosecutor Kelly Collins said:
"He almost took the life of another human being. That will forever stay with Brennan — forever. His perception of strangers, his perception of other people, his perception of the world."
Of course, Zeigler denied that race played a role in the incident. But Wright also made a jolting statement:
“If there was a button that I could press for me to pick what color I could be, just so I wouldn’t have to deal with this type of stuff, I would have to be your color just so I could survive."
Presiding Judge Wendy Potts did not mention race. Yet, according to the Oakland Press, she conclusively stated:
“Shooting at a teenager (who is) leaving your premises has consequences. Fortunately, no physical injury occurred.”
Rochester Hills Michigan 6 months ago.— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) October 11, 2018
The surveillance footage was just released.
14 y/o Black Teen misses the bus to school & figures he knew the route well enough to walk the 4-mile route. He gets lost, stops to ask for directions, & nearly loses his life.
WHY WE KNEEL! pic.twitter.com/k3cnL3kO6u
The Michigan judge sentenced Zeigler to four to 10 years in prison. He was convicted for assault with attempt to do great bodily harm and for possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Zeigler said before that he has "done a lot of soul searching (since the incident)" and that he wished he "could change something."
Yet even his attorney agreed that the evidence was against him, particularly the video. Zeigler bowed his head upon hearing the sentence.
He will be eligible for parole after the first four years.
I am not doing this to get famous, I am doing this so no family ever again has to feel the way my family feels. There are no excuses! We must have proper security in every school in America! I will not stop until that is accomplished. We must #FixIt! #MeadowsMovement pic.twitter.com/Hz6v9S9vrI— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) April 11, 2018
Meanwhile, the Parkland teenage shooter has drawn outrage from the public and victims' families.
Nicolas Cruz, then 19, was on the other end of the gun when he allegedly killed 17 people in February 2018.
Recently, it was revealed that he and several other accused persons in the Broward County were registered to vote.
Oh my gosh. I don’t even have the words for this. https://t.co/c58ooRqhL0— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 10, 2018
One parent who lost his daughter in the shooting was particularly expressive about the situation. Andrew Pollack took to Twitter to express his feelings.
Online, many pointed out that despite his obvious guilt, Cruz had not been convicted. Therefore it was perfectly legal for him to vote.
Cruz is expected to be sentenced in the coming months. It is unknown if he took part in the recent elections.
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