Michigan Father Shoots Innocent Man, Believing He Had Killed His Teen Son

A Michigan man was convicted this week for shooting an innocent man he believed had killed his 16-year-old son.

Anthony Webb, 44, shot Zachary Degroot, 26, multiple times last July, while Degroot tried to convince him he was shooting at the wrong person, MLive.com reported.

According to testimony in the two day trial, Webb’s son, Ja’Juan Webb, was shot and killed on July 4 while on his way to play basketball near his Grand Rapids home. Investigators identified 17-year-old Brandon Bechtold Jr as a suspect but did not immediately find him.

On July 8, Webb’s daughter saw Degroot walking near the home of the 16-year-old’s mother, Antoinette Evans, heading home after a job interview. Thinking she was seeing Bechtold, she called 911 just before 1 p.m. Soon after the 911 call, Grand Rapids detectives called Evans and told her Bechtold had been arrested in Georgia, but Evans didn’t believe them, according to testimony.

Thirty minutes after the 911 call, Degroot was shot from a vehicle trailing him on the street. He was struck in the shoulder and tried to flee and jump a fence, but his injury prevented him from doing so. Degroot testified that the shooter got out of his vehicle and came at him, while Degroot yelled, “Why are you doing this? You have the wrong person. My name is Zach.”

The shooter cursed at Degroot and shot him four more times. Witnesses identified the gunman as Webb, and one of them captured video of Webb running from the scene.

Degroot was seriously injured but recovered, although prosecutors said he remains emotionally scarred.

Defense attorney Scott Pederson argued that Webb couldn’t have been the shooter because he was still grieving.

Webb’s sentencing has been set for March 16.

Bechtold was charged as an adult with open murder, three counts of assault with intent to murder, and felony firearms charges, according to WZZM.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.

[Featured image: Anthony Webb/Kent County Sheriff’s Office]