Help needed for npc (and props) to only react to keyboard key presses instead of any playable character interaction

this may sound like there are 1000 tutorials out there that accommodate but please hear me out.
I’m a noob and trying to make some zombies get up, turn and walk towards a location, I need them to be able to play hit and death animation too on command. but I don’t want a player character to be aiming or shooting anything. I want to trigger a zombie to get up and walk via one keypress (like ‘e’ key), and then have a designated key per zombie for hit and another key for death animation (eg if I have 3 zombies all walking to x location and I assign ‘j’ key to trigger hit animation on zombie 1,and ‘k’ key to trigger hit animation for zombie 2, and then ‘z’ key for death animation for zombie 1 etc). how can I achieve this? I’ve tried some AI, but that seems too complicated for my needs and thrown up problems like I couldn’t get the zombie to react to a (player) keyboard press, I also tried some spline animation but couldn’t get an hit animation to trigger via a blend pace… it feels like it’s an easy request but I can’t find any tutorial that is close to what I need. can anyone help?