A 14-year-old black student was nearly shot and killed by a racist homeowner after asking for directions when he missed his bus to school.
Brennan Walker says he was forced to walk his bus route from his family’s home to Rochester High School after he woke up late Thursday morning and missed his bus.
The teen’s mother had taken his phone away, so he wasn’t able to check it for directions.
Walker decided to knock on a stranger’s door to ask for help.
“I got to the house, and I knocked on the lady’s door,” Brennan told the TV station. “Then she started yelling at me and she was like, ‘Why are you trying to break into my house?’ I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High, and she kept yelling at me.”
“Then the [husband] came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun,” the teen said. “I saw it and started to run — and that’s when I heard the gunshot.”
The shot nearly missed the fleeing teen, who said he kept running until he found a hiding place. That’s when he broke down crying.
“My mom says that black boys get shot because sometimes they don’t look their age, and I don’t look my age,” he said. “I’m 14, but I don’t look 14. I’m kind of happy that, like, I didn’t become a statistic.”
The teen’s mother was at work when she got a call about the incident.
At first, she feared bad news about her husband, who is deployed in Syria.
“That’s exactly how I feel, like, wow — because you were trying to get to school,” said his mother, Lisa Wright. “I found out later the only reason [the man] missed is because he forgot to take the safety off.”
Investigators reviewed a video of the incident recorded by the homeowner’s doorbell security camera with Brennan and his mother.
“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?’” Wright said. “Who are ‘these people?’ And that set me off. I didn’t want to believe it was what it appeared to look like. When I heard her say that, it was like, but it is.”
Oakland County sheriff’s deputies arrested the gunman, a 53-year-old Rochester Hills man who neighbors say is a retired Detroit firefighter.
“We should not have to live in a society where we have to fend for ourselves,” Wright said. “If I have a question, I should be able to turn to my village and knock on a door and ask a question. I shouldn’t be fearful of a child, let alone a skin tone.”
“This is a decent neighborhood,” Wright added. “If anything — why would I knock on your door to rob you?”
The Oakland County sheriff agreed with Wright.
“It is just absurd that this happened,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “I feel terrible for the young man, I feel terrible for the mom and the anxiety that they had to go through. 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.”
The gunman remains behind bars and will be arraigned Friday.