Walker, who'd woken up late, decided to walk the bus route to school. However, he got lost during his travels and needed a bit of guidance. At the time Walker did not have his phone since it had been taken away from him as punishment.
— The Black Detour (@theblackdetour) April 13, 2018
According to local station WDIV, the 14-year-old wound up getting directions from one homeowner, but eventually ended up getting lost for a second time. When he walked up to the home of Jeffrey Zeigler, things took a turn for the worse.
"I knocked on the door, stepped back, knocked, stepped back, and then a lady came downstairs yelling at me," Walker told the station. "She asked me, 'Why are you trying to break into my house?' and I told her I was just looking for directions to Rochester High."
Moments later, Ziegler, a retired Detroit firefighter, descended the home's stairs with a gun. Walker immediately ran away from the home and hid.
"I turned back and I saw him aiming at me. I was running away… I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot," he recalled.
Lisa Wright, Walker's mother, told the outlet that she wanted to "see this pushed to the fullest extent." She added, "it was definitely a hate crime."
Ziegler is white and Walker is black.
— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) April 13, 2018
Speaking to FOX 2, Wright explained that she "found out later that the only reason [Ziegler] missed is because he forgot to take the safety off."
"We should not have to live in a society where we have to fend for ourselves. If I have a question, I should be able to turn to my village and knock on a door and ask a question," Wright said. "I shouldn't be fearful of a child, let alone a skin tone… This is a decent neighborhood. If anything — why would I knock on your door to rob you?"
Ziegler's home was installed with the Ring doorbell security system. The footage of the incident has been reviewed by both the Oakland County Sheriff's Office as well as Wright and Walker.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard called the incident "absurd" and told the station that "we are going to ask for every charge permissible for this guy, who stepped up and fired a shotgun because someone knocked on his door."
"I feel terrible for the young man. I feel terrible for the mom and the anxiety that they had to go through," he added.
Ziegler was arraigned on Friday and charged with assault with intent to murder. His bond has been set at $50,000, according to WXYZ. The judge also requested he refrain from contacting the victim or his family and to surrender all his weapons to the sheriff's office.
Since Ziegler lives within a 10-mile radius of Walker, he has also been told that if he posts bond, he will have to stay elsewhere. The retired firefighter is currently being held at the Oakland County Jail.