Man who fired shotgun at black boy tells court at trial: “it slipped”

At his attempted murder trial, Jeffrey Zeigler says he did not intend to fire his weapon at a boy who was simply asking for directions to his school

Jeffrey Zeigler

A suburban Detroit man’s claim that he accidentally shot at a black teen, may not hold up to a video shown in court during his trial which appears to show that he deliberately fired his gun in the boy’s direction, the Oakland Press reports.

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Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, fired his weapon at Brennan Walker who was 14 at the time, when he asked for directions to school. Zeigler was charged with assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

On Monday, Walker testified at Oakland County Circuit Court against Zeigler and explained how he was looking for directions to Rochester High School after missing his bus, and opened the screen door to knock on the main door before being chased away by a shotgun wielding white man.

The video that aired was from Zeigler’s home surveillance system and raised some doubt in jurors’ minds about his intent since it showed that the gun was fired in Walker’s direction. Zeigler said he ran outside with his shotgun but slipped and fired it accidentally. He claimed he thought it was a break-in.

“When I saw that video, my thought process switched…I knew which direction I had to go. I was shocked,” Detective Shawn Pace testified. After viewing it a second time, he said he was “charged up, because I was offended by what I had seen.”

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“He took a big drink of water, looked at me and said, ‘I’m tired of being a victim.’ That was it,” Pace said.

The video shows a shirtless Zeigler aiming at the boy as he runs away from he home after ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door for help.

Jason Marshall, a deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, also testified the video shows Zeigler “leveled the shotgun, and that his shoulder came back and forward.” Zeigler then “played around with the safety” and his hand was forced up by the recoil of the gun, Marshall testified.

Marshall said he couldn’t definitively say what it was leveled at.

Judge Wendy Potts said closing statements will like begin Friday.