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A jury convicted a white Michigan man of assault on Friday for firing a shotgun at a black teen who knocked on his door to ask for directions on his way to school.
Brennan Walker, 14, had missed his bus on the morning of April 12, so he stopped at the Rochester Hills home of Jeffrey Ziegler to ask for directions. But the boy was met by the shotgun-wielding homeowner and ran away, barely escaping injury as Ziegler fired at him.
Ziegler, 53, was found guilty of assault with attempt to murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
“I knocked on the door, stepped back, knocked, stepped back, and then a lady came downstairs yelling at me,” Brennan 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.”
Zeigler’s wife called the police, reporting that “a black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard.” Zeigler, a retired Detroit firefighter, ran at Brennan with his shotgun, firing as the boy ran away.
The judge on Friday revoked Zeigler’s bond and he was remanded into custody.
Zeigler protested his innocence at his arraignment earlier this year, claiming there was “a lot more to this story than what is being told.” The ex-firefighter claimed he believed he was being robbed and the shotgun accidentally fired when he tripped. But police noted that home security footage of the incident — which was only shown to the jury this week — showed that Zeigler clearly aimed at Walker.
This is a developing story, check back for updates