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White Man Who Shot at Lost Black Teen and Called Him 'Colored' Stands Trial

Jeffrey Zeigler, who is on trial for shooting at a lost Black teen in Rochester Hills, Mich., watched as his wife, Dana, broke down in tears in Oakland County Circuit Court on Tuesday, while testifying about the April 12 shooting, and watching a video of the incident.

Dana said she was frightened when she saw Brennan Walker, a 14-year-old Black teen, on her porch.

“What are you doing on my porch” she recalled. “I saw a Black person standing at my door and I screamed at him, and I asked him what he was doing there.”

Her report to police: “A Black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard.”

The video shows Zeigler aiming at the teen, despite the claims that he tripped and his gun fired.

Prosecutor Kelly Collins said that “being a bad shot does not negate one’s intentions.”

Walker, then age 14, had missed his bus to school that morning and came to the Zeigler’s door for help. After his wife screamed, Zeigler fired a shotgun at the teen, but missed him.

Zeigler had referred to Walker, in an interview with a sheriff’s deputy, as “that colored kid” at his front door. The defense initially claimed it was the interviewing officer who said “colored.”

Zeigler also said he was “tired of being a victim.”

His attorney, Rob Morad, has said that “race was not a factor in the shooting, but rather actions from passion instead of judgment,” Morad told jurors. He said the couple had five previous break-ins and were on “high alert.”

Walker’s mother, Lisa Wright, who was also in tears in the courtroom watching the video of her son flee for his life, said that she believed the shooting was a hate crime and that she wanted to see the prosecution push this to the fullest extent.

In April, she said that she believed this was racially motivated. After watching a video near the time of the incident, she said: “You can hear the wife say, ‘Why did these people choose my house’ Who are ‘these people’ ”

Walker testified that after he knocked on the front door, which is behind a screen door, Zeigler’s wife accused him of trying to break in.

“I was scared,” he testified. “I was trying to tell them that I was trying to get to high school, but they weren’t listening.”

Zeigler was arrested and released on $50,000 bond and ordered to wear a tracking device. He was charged with assault with intent to murder, which could lead to life in prison, Oakland County District Attorney Jessica R. Cooper said, along with use of a firearm in a felony.

Zeigler also has a conviction for firing a handgun at another motorist during a dispute in 2004.

Reader Question: Watching the video, would you say Zeigler is innocent or guilty of intent to murder

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