Brennan Walker woke up late on Thursday and missed the bus to school. So, the 14-year-old tried to walk the bus path to get to class. When he knocked on a stranger’s door to ask for directions, the occupants turned a shotgun on him.
"I got to the house, and I knocked on the lady's door. Then she started yelling at me and she was like, 'Why are you trying to break into my house?' I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High,” Walker told a local Fox station. “And she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that's when I heard the gunshot."
The shot missed the teen, who continued running before hiding and crying.
Jeffrey Zeigler, a former Detroit firefighter, is being held at the Oakland County Jail on $50,000 bond. He was charged with assault with intent to murder and felony firearms.
The sheriff criticized the shooter.
“That’s just completely unacceptable on every level. I don’t know how you would justify it, but it certainly doesn’t pass the muster,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
“If someone is running from your house and [you] chase them outside and shoot at them, you’re going to have criminal charges coming from us,” Bouchard added.
Officers arrested the suspect and said they have video of the incident. While the footage has not been published, officers allowed Walker and his mother to see the tape.
A black 14-year old was shot at because he knocked on someone’s door to ask for directions to school.— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 13, 2018
A woman called 911 after her husband fired a gun at Brennan Walker, who she said was trying to break in. The shooter has now been jailed. Walker was not injured. pic.twitter.com/EWydys5dtq
“One of the things that stands out, that probably angers me the most, is while I was watching the tape, you can hear the wife say, ‘Why did these people choose my house?’ Who are ‘these people.’” Walker’s mother, Lisa Wright, said. “And that set me off. I didn’t want to believe it was what it appeared to look like. When I heard her say that, it was like, but it is.”
Wright’s recounting of the incident conveyed a disturbing level of racism that hinted at the country’s polarization. The assumption that a black 14-year-old is attempting robbery was problematic, and Walker’s comment on the subject was also saddening.
“I’m 14, but I don’t look 14. I’m kind of happy that, like, I didn’t become a statistic,” he said.
Instead of worrying about whether he would make it to class on time, Walker was left wondering whether he would be left alive. At a time of political polarization about gun violence, this event will also raise arguments about claims frequently invoked by gun rights advocates, who use the need for self-defense as a common justification for owning a gun.
While self-defense is a legitimate claim for responsible gun owners in certain circumstances, everyone hopefully should be able to recognize this isn’t a case of self-defense.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Skitterphoto, Pixabay