ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WJBK) - The attorney for a Rochester Hills man accused of shooting at a black teen who stopped and asked for directions to school said that the man was concerned about numerous break-ins. According to reports from the sheriff's department, there hasn't been a break-in at the home in almost ten years.
Jeff Zeigler, a retired Detroit Firefighter, is accused of shooting at a black 14-year-old boy who had knocked on the door to ask for directions after missing the bus to school. Zeigler was in court on Tuesday for a hearing in the case where he asked for a lowered bond, a widened GPS tether, and structured drug testing. All of those requests were rejected.
Zeigler's attorney said on Tuesday that the man shot at the teen because the family had feared for their safety because of numerous break-ins.
FOX 2 contacted the Oakland County Sheriff's Office to get information regarding the alleged break-ins, here's what we found:
- November 2009: a DeWalt tool box and beer were stolen after someone broke in through the side garage door.
- December 2009: someone stole one beer after breaking into the basement of the home.
- June 2010: $160 in cash and a DVD system were stolen when someone broke into an open kitchen window.
Following the third break-in, the OCSO said it solved the break-ins and arrested a 15-year-old neighbor for the crimes.
There have been no other reported burglaries at the home, according to the sheriff's office.
Brennan Walker knocked on Zeigler's door in mid April as he was lost on his way to school. His mother had taken away his cell phone and he missed the bus after waking up late. A woman answered the door and he said she started yelling at him and asking why he was trying to break into her house.
"I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. 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," he said.
Walker was not hit by the shot.
Investigators said Zeigler's home has a Ring doorbell camera that recorded the encounter. They have not released the video but they did show it to Walker's mom, Lisa Wright.
"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?'" she says, before taking a long pause. "Who are, "these people?" 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 [what it looks like]."
Zeigler is being held on a $50,000 bond.