White Man Shot Black Teenager…Because He Dared To Asked For Directions

Brennan Walker, a black teenager from Rochester Hills, Michigan, was trying to get to school when he stopped to ask someone for directions–and was shot at for doing so.

Walker missed his bus, but was willing to walk 4 miles to get to school. On his way, he tried a “shortcut” through a local neighborhood but got lost, so he approached a house on South Christian Hill Drive to find help.

“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 Fox2. “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 shots came from 53-year-old Jeffrey Ziegler, a retired firefighter. According to police records, he chased Walker into the yard and tried firing a 12-gauge shotgun, but he had left the safety on. Instead of leaving Walker alone, Ziegler took the safety off and fired off a shot.

Walker wasn’t injured, but the teenage boy was terrified, crying as he hid from the gunman. Meanwhile, the Zieglers were calling 911, claiming that Walker tried to break into their home,  Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.

Ziegler has been charged with assault with intent to murder, but defended his actions. “There’s a lot more to this story than what is being told and I believe that will all come out in court,” Zeigler insisted at his arraignment. “I was in bed yesterday morning when my wife started screaming and crying…”

Walker’s mother, Lisa Wright, was horrified when she learned that someone tried to shoot her son, and said it was “definitely” a hate crime. “I want to see this pushed to the fullest extent,” Wright said.

The community is certainly standing with Walker and his mom.  “I feel so bad for this mom and young man and am incredibly angry at this disturbing event in our county, state, and country,” Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard wrote on Twitter. “We will seek all applicable charges. There is no world where this is acceptable.”

The school district also commented. “The Rochester Community School District cannot comment on ongoing investigations; however, we can tell you that we are deeply disturbed and horrified by the events that were described in the news involving a Rochester Community Schools student who was asking for directions,” Grein wrote in an email to The Daily Beast. “Our Critical Incident Team is working to support the student and the student’s family and is also available to provide support for those children who may be upset or have questions about this event.”

The NAACP’s Detroit branch also sent a statement to the Daily Beast:

“Whether or not it was Brennan Walker, age 14, knocking on the door in the daylight in Rochester asking for help, he was still shot at for his efforts. In case you forgot, Renisha McBride, age 19, was shot in the face at midnight and killed in Dearborn Heights as she asked for help for her efforts. Until our society has a heart and a head transformation, we will continue to see not our God given humanity but our contagious racial insanity. Face it America, we have a problem. It’s called racism. Until we own it, we cannot cure it.”

Sadly, many young black men and women learn just how terrible others can be because they find themselves in situations like these. Walker assumed that the people in that house would help him–who wouldn’t help a kid trying to get to school? Instead, he almost lost his life.


Cyrus Massoumi
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Cyrus Massoumi is President and Managing Partner of Truth Examiner. He has worked in media for over 10 years and has been involved with social media since its genesis. As an expert in media optimization, Mr. Massoumi advises clients on media optimization strategies and has participated in the development of myriad media organizations. His first two loves in life are politics and online media. Mr. Massoumi's greatest strength is transforming ideas into highly successful conduits through which hundreds of thousands of people a day can access content. While he doesn't subscribe to either liberal or conservative doctrines, Mr. Massoumi believes that informed discourse is the highest ideal for which to strive. When not working, Mr. Massoumi enjoys cooking and spending time with his two dogs.

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