Black Teen Who Was Shot On Way To School Graduates Early
Brennan Walker turned pain and fear into achievement and success.
It’s been over three years since he was shot at for asking directions to his school, and now, he’s graduating from the Alternative Center for Education in Rochester, Mich., and is on his way to college.
“It doesn’t mentally impact me as much as it used to, but I think about the events every day,” Walker told local Detoit station WJBK of the horrific incident.
On Saturday (June 12), Brennan graduated from Rochester High School and says he’s a little nervous about taking the next step in his education. But he isn’t nearly as fearful about that as he was when he experienced that nearly-fatal life event.
When he was just 14, Walker knocked on the door of Jeff Zeigler, who is white, to ask him for directions, Zeigler assumed Brennan was a burglar and opened his front door with a shotgun and fired at the teen.
The case made national news and led to Zeigler being sentenced to four to 10 years in prison. It understandably shook Walker and his family.
“After that stuff happened to me I was in a pretty bad place as far as my schoolwork, mentally and emotionally,” he said to the new station. “I wasn’t really there, fully.”
“Watching my son be depressed made me depressed,” his mother Lisa said.
Brennan says it was the counseling and positive impact from teachers that helped him regain his confidence to succeed.
“Eventually I pulled myself together and got through it and I became student council president at the school I was at, and I was also vice president for a while,” he said.
Walker was also on the debate team and competed in the battle of the books. Now, he’s headed to Florida Memorial University in Miami, an HBCU, after graduating a semester early.
“I kind of think I picked it just because I kind of wanted to be around more people of color and I kind of wanted to also leave Michigan because I feel like I know a lot of people here – and I want to be surrounded by new people,” Brennan said.
Walker is considering majoring in biology during his time in college.