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Man Who Shot At Teen Looking For Directions Gets Decade In Prison

November 13, 2018 - 9:25 am

ROCHESTER (WWJ) - A retired firefighter who fired a shotgun at an unarmed teenager who was lost last spring could spend up to a decade in prison. 

Jeffrey Zeigler of Rochester Hills was sentenced Tuesday to between four and 10 years in prison after being found guilty in October of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and felony firearm. He was initially charged with assault with intent to murder, which could have been a life sentence.

During the sentencing, Oakland County Judge Wendy Potts said firefighters are held to a higher standard for the service they perform and Zeigler's actions were not in conformity of those brave firefighters. 

Zeigler, who will get no credit for time served, addressed the court before hearing his fate. 

"I'd like to apologize to the family for my actions on that morning, April 12," he said. "After spending 35 days in jail, you know, you do a lot of soul searching. So I do apologize for my actions. I have full remorse and regret and I wish I could change something. But we can't go back in time."

Ziegler was charged for firing a weapon at 14-year-old Brennan Walker in April. The teen told police he got lost after missing the school bus and stopped to ask for directions. When he saw a neighborhood watch sign in the window of Zeigler's home, on S. Christian Hills Dr., Walker said, he thought it would be a safe place to seek help.

Zeigler testified he wanted to fire a warning shot at Walker, seeking to protect his wife who testified she "saw a black person" and screamed, believing he would break in. Walker was not injured in the incident, which was captured on Zeigler's home's security system.