Rochester Hills man sentenced to prison for shooting at teenager asking for directions

Jeffrey Zeigler sentenced to 4-10 years in prison

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – A Rochester Hills man found guilty of shooting at a black teenager for knocking on his door found out Tuesday he'll spend four to 10 years in prison.

A jury found Jeffrey Zeigler guilty of assault after he fired his shotgun at Brennan Walker in April.

Walker was lost and went to Zeigler's door to ask for directions.

Zeigler's defense painted a picture of a retired firefighter serving Detroit, but the prosecution said that doesn't matter. Zeigler was sentenced to four years above the recommendations.

Jeffrey Zeigler (WDIV)

"We have a plan for everything: fire, break-in, car accident," said Lisa Wright, Walker's mother. "But we never set a plan for, 'If somebody tries to kill you, this is what you do.'"

Wright isn't happy with how long Zeigler will be in prison. She wanted him to serve longer than four years, saying her son could have been killed.

Walker missed his school bus in April and got lost walking to school. He knocked on Zeigler's door to ask for directions, but instead, that lead to a shooting.

The Zeigler home had been broken into a few times before, so Wright's mother brought up the elephant in the room.

"I tried to keep race out of it, but we all know that's what it was," she said. "It's not fair to dislike us because of something that we cannot control. If there was a button to pick what color I could be, I would have to be your color so I could survive."

Brennan Walker, 14, of Rochester Hills

During the trial, Zeigler said he tripped and the shotgun he was holding accidentally went off. His home security camera recorded the incident, and a jury didn't believe his story, finding him guilty.

"I do apologize for my actions," Zeigler said. "I wish I could change something. I can't go back in time."

Wright's family is struggling to find a sense of security, especially his father, who was serving overseas in Syria at the time of the incident.

"How can I be over there,serving this country, and my family is not protected by anyone at all?" Steve Wright asked.

Zeigler also had a misdemeanor offense for firing a gun during a road rage incident. His defense attorney believes that likely played a role in the longer sentence.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.