Rochester Falls – VIJAY SHAH via Metro
UK tabloid newspaper Metro reported this past Friday on an allegedly racially-motivated shooting of a 14-year-old African-American student by a white American homeowner, after the student asked for directions when he missed his bus. The homeowner is currently on trial for the incident.
The boy, Brennan Walker, was experiencing difficulties getting to his destination after missing the scheduled transport due to oversleeping, and knocked on the door of Jeffrey and Dana Ziegler in the town of Rochester Falls, in Michigan. Dana Ziegler noticed Walker walking towards her door and thought the boy was intending to burglarise her home.
She answered the door and began speaking with Walker. Ms Ziegler added: “I saw a black person standing at my door and I screamed at him and I asked him what he was doing there.
‘He tells me that he is going to school and at that point he approaches the door, forward momentum, comes forward, opens the screen door, and puts his hand on the door handle again, as though he’s coming into my house.”
In a court statement, Ms Ziegler admitted she became panicked and began screaming. She said: “I was screaming as loud as I possibly could, saying somebody is breaking into my house.”. Her screams woke her husband Jeffrey, who was asleep. He came downstairs with a shotgun they kept for protection. Jeffrey then left the property, chasing after the boy and firing shots at him. Mr Ziegler claimed that he was only firing warning shots and did not realise he was targeting a child until he reviewed home CCTV footage of his front garden. In the footage, Walker is seen waiting around near the front door, and moves forward at one point. After a few seconds of standing there, the boy immediately starts running out of frame, as Mr Ziegler comes out into the front yard with the gun and takes a shot at the fleeing child.
Mr Ziegler said: “I wanted to fire more up in the air, more towards my shoulder, and I didn’t get the chance to because like I said, it was slippery, and I didn’t have a good grip on the gun.”
“I felt extremely remorseful. I was – I was just shocked.”
Ms Ziegler claimed that Walker did not look like a student due to his size and build. She said: “He didn’t look like a child. He was a rather big man standing there, and also, if he was going to school, we have no schools in our area.”
Mr Ziegler said if he could have done anything differently, he would have given Brennan a lift to school. A detective told the court that the Zieglers had been burgled three times between 2009 and 2010.
Fortunately, Walker managed to escape serious harm and was able to testify at the trial. The US has been rocked by a series of shootings involving young African-American (black) men targeted by people, usually in law enforcement, of predominately white backgrounds. The racial overtones of many of these often fatal incidents has led to riots such as the Ferguson unrest of 2017 and nationwide protests by activist groups such as Black Lives Matter.
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
“Man shoots at black boy, 14, who asked for directions when he missed his bus” – Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (12 October 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/12/man-shoots-at-black-boy-14-who-asked-for-directions-when-he-missed-his-bus-8031172/?ito=social
“File:Black Lives Matter protest.jpg” – Otto Yamamoto & The All-Nite Images, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (28 November 2014) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Lives_Matter_protest.jpg