The white Michigan man who shot at a Black teen who came to his front porch looking for directions was sentenced to 4-10 years in prison on Tuesday.
Back in April, a 14-year-old Black boy got lost walking to school after missing the bus. Hoping a resident would give him directions, the teen approached Jeffrey Zeigler’s Rochester Hills home and knocked on the door.
Instead of asking the minor what he needed, Zeigler assumed he was a burglar and approached the door with a shotgun. Surveillance video from the home showed the teen quickly took off running while Zeigler fired at his back.
Zeigler was charged with assault with intent to murder and felony firearms violations. In October, a jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.
The teen's mother, Lisa Wright, spoke in court ahead of Zeigler's sentencing and said while she didn't want to bring race into the conversation, she had a feeling Zeigler fired the gun at her son because he is Black, reported Click On Detroit.
"I don't feel like he's remorseful. I don't feel like he's shown remorse. I feel like it's only because of the media that he feels as though he has to say he's sorry. His wife hasn't shown any remorse. I feel like myself and my son are the only ones that are really sorry in this whole thing, and we haven't done anything ...," Wright said. "I try to keep race out of it, but we all know that's pretty much what it was. It's not fair for people to dislike us about something that we can't control. If there was a button I could press for me to pick what color I could be just so I wouldn't have to deal with this type of stuff, I would have to be your color so I could survive. That's not fair."
Zeigler did offer an apology before Judge Wendy Potts delivered the sentence.
"I'd like to apologize to the family for my actions on that morning," said Zeigler. "I know it was wrong, and after spending 35 days in jail you do a lot of soul-searching. I do apologize for my actions. I have full remorse and regret, and I wish I could change something but I can't go back in time."
Potts said she took into consideration Zeigler's past as a Detroit firefighter. He worked with the fire department for 20 years and was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010.
"Shooting at a teenager leaving your premises has consequences," said Potts. "Firemen are held in very high esteem for the services they perform ... your actions weren't in uniformity with the actions of those brave firefighters."