Jury sees video of white man who greeted lost black teen with shotgun

Video played in court this shows a white man in suburban Detroit opening fire on an unarmed black teenager who says he was lost.
by Dennis Romero /

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Jurors in suburban Detroit this week were shown home security video of a white man opening fire on a black teenager who had come to his door to ask for directions.

The 8:20 a.m. shooting April 12 did not injure, Brennan Walker, 14, but the Oakland County Sheriff's Office arrested Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, on charges that eventually included assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to the agency's summary of the incident.

Zeigler is a retired Detroit firefighter. His wife called police that morning to report "that a black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard," according to the sheriff's summary.

But Walker said he simply missed a bus to school that morning and decided to walk to campus a few miles away. He said he got lost and stopped at Zeigler's home to ask for directions — but was met by a shirtless man with a shotgun, prompting him to run as one round was fired.

Image: Jeffrey Craig Zeigler
Jeffrey Craig ZeiglerOakland County Sheriff's Office

"I knocked on the door, stepped back, knocked, stepped back, and then a lady came downstairs yelling at me," the teenager told NBC News affiliate WDIV in Detroit in April. "She asked me, 'Why are you trying to break into my house?' and I told her I was just looking for directions to Rochester High."

As an armed Zeigler emerged, Walker said said, "I was running away ... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told the station that the attack was "just completely unacceptable on every level. I don't know how you would justify it, but it certainly doesn't pass the muster."

Zeigler said he's innocent. "There’s a lot more to this story than what is being told and I believe that will all come out in court," Zeigler said at his arraignment.

"I was in bed yesterday morning when my wife started screaming and crying," he added.

The case caused a stir in Oakland County, where Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett said in a statement in spring that he was "personally sickened by the initial reports and they suggest behavior completely unacceptable and inconsistent with the character and values of our community."

Image: Brennan Walker
Brennan Walker, 14-years-old.WDIV

Walker's mother, Lisa Wright, told WDIV she believed the shooting was "a hate crime." "I want to see this pushed to the fullest extent," she said of the prosecution.

After his arrest Zeigler was released on $50,000 bond and ordered to wear a tracking device.

Closing arguments were expected Friday.

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