When a Michigan teen got lost walking to school after missing his bus Thursday morning, he stopped at a house to ask for directions. He was greeted by a woman who allegedly shouted, "Why are you trying to break into my house?" and her husband, who fired a shotgun round at him.
Luckily the 14-year-old, Brennan Walker, was unharmed. Walker is black, while the man charged with shooting at him, 53-year-old Jeffrey Ziegler, is white. Ziegler was arrested and charged with felony gun violations and assault with intent to murder. Walker, whose mom had taken his phone away as a punishment, says he stopped at Ziegler’s home for directions after he noticed a Neighborhood Watch sticker on the house.
Walker’s mother, Lisa Wright, called the shooting "a hate crime." The home’s security camera recorded the incident, which police showed to Wright and her son. "One of the things that stands out, that probably angers me the most is, while I was watching the tape, you can hear the wife say, 'Why did these people choose my house?'" Her son had approached the home alone. "Who are 'these people'?" Wright asked.
The case is an echo of the 2013 murder, also in Michigan, of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. After a middle-of-the-night car crash, McBride approached the home of Ted Wafer for help. Wafer shot her to death on his porch. He was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving a sentence of 17 years in prison.
“Your son almost became a hashtag,” a local reporter told Wright. “Exactly,” she replied. “Because [he was] trying to get to school."
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