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Ask for Directions at Your Own Risk in Detroit

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By Carlos Gamino

A jury convicted a retired Michigan firefighter of assault in mid-October for shooting at a teenager who came to his door asking for directions. The man, Jeffrey Ziegler, came out – literally – with guns blazing when the 14-year-old boy, who had missed the school bus that day, knocked on his door.

The boy, Brennan Walker, wasn’t sure how to get to school after missing the bus, so he stopped at Ziegler’s home to ask for directions.

“I knocked on the door, stepped back, knocked, stepped back, and then a lady came downstairs yelling at me,” Walker said . “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,” he said.

Ziegler’s wife called the police as soon as the boy knocked on the door, claiming he was trying to break in. 

Surveillance video shows otherwise. 

A statement from the sheriff’s office says, “The caller reported that a black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard. Upon deputies' arrival, it was determined that the husband chased after the male with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired a round toward the fleeing male. No injuries were reported.” 

When Ziegler answered the door, he fired a shotgun at Walker multiple times. Ziegler was charged with suspicion of assault with attempt to murder, but the jury determined that he didn’t intend to kill the boy – instead, he was found guilty of assault with attempt to do great bodily harm, as well as possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. 

What Do You Think?

Do you think it was okay for Ziegler to shoot first and ask questions later? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino