Jeffrey Zeigler was arrested for firing his gun at a 14-year-old boy who was lost in the neighborhood. The incident was recorded on Zeigler’s home surveillance system on April 12, 2018. Prosecutors showed that footage to a jury on October 11, 2018.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Video Shows Jeffrey Zeigler Aim His Gun at Brennan Morrow as the Teen Runs Away
53-year-old Jeffrey Zeigler of Rochester Hills, Michigan, told responding deputies he thought the teen was a potential robber. He said his wife was screaming that someone was trying to break into the house. Zeigler claimed he slipped once he got outside and that the gun had gone off accidentally.
But the surveillance video, which does not have audio, reveals a different story. 14-year-old Brennan Walker was seen walking up to the front door. He stands there for about 40 seconds after either knocking or ringing a doorbell. At :53, Walker suddenly turns and sprints away.
The video quickly reveals Zeigler coming out of the house, shirtless and holding a shotgun. Zeigler stands and takes aim, firing the gun once. He does not slip, as he originally told police. Luckily, the gunshot did not hit Walker and he was not hurt.
2. Brennan Walker Told Police He Had Missed His Bus & Got Lost Trying to Walk to School
A boy asking for directions and he got SHOT AT? 14-year-old Brennan Walker needed directions.. Walker knocked on the door of Jeff Zeigler to ask for help and the wife thought Walker was trying to break in. Jeff shot at him and thankfully missed. https://t.co/qrFnJfkRAw pic.twitter.com/rwnKTW9Zjl
— Angie Greaves (@AngieGreaves) April 14, 2018
Deputy Travis Dick responded to the scene that day, and found Brennan Walker nearby. The Detroit News reported that on the witness stand, the deputy testified that Walker was crying and was shaken up, but was otherwise unharmed.
Walker explained to deputies that he had missed the school bus that morning. He tried to walk, but got lost. Another neighbor, identified as James McFee, told officials that Walker had knocked on his door first. McFee said the directions were a bit complex, and that Walker had seemed “a bit nervous but polite.”
The teen apparently needed additional help trying to navigate out of the subdivision. He said that’s why he knocked on the Zeigler’s front door. He told WDIV-TV back in April that after he knocked on the door, “a lady came downstairs yelling at me. 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.”
Moments later, Zeigler appeared with the gun and Walker took off running. “I turned back and I saw him aiming at me. I was trying to run away fast and I heard a gunshot.”
3. Zeigler Was Charged With Assault With Intent to Murder
Tearful wife recounts husband's gunfire incident with lost teenager. https://t.co/ON2fUo6hzO pic.twitter.com/269lYwBNDc
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) October 11, 2018
Jeffrey Zeigler was arrested and charged with two felonies: assault with intent to murder, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He paid bond and was released from jail as the case progressed, but he was required to wear a tracking device. If convicted, the maximum penalty for assault with intent to murder is life in prison.
The case was being handled at the Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan. The jury was shown the surveillance video on October 11. Closing arguments were expected to begin on October 12.
Zeigler formerly worked as a fire fighter in Detroit. He was injured on the job when a house collapsed. He told police that his list of regular medication included Valium, muscle relaxers and painkillers. But Zeigler told Detective Shawn Pace, who testified during the trial, that he had not taken any medicine that day.