Police are seeking charges against a Dearborn Heights, Michigan resident for shooting and killing a 19-year-old Detroit woman who sought help at the resident’s house after a car accident early Saturday morning.
The Dearborn Heights Police Department said – and autopsy information from the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office confirm – that Renisha McBride was shot in the head with a shotgun around 0630 GMT (2:30 am EST) Saturday by a resident of a house near the scene of a car accident after attempting to seek help at the house. Her cellphone battery had died, her family said.
Police initially told McBride’s family her body was “dumped” and found near the house she approached. Police have since changed their account of events, saying McBride died on the resident’s front porch, according to Fox 2 in Detroit. Police added she was supposedly believed to have been an intruder and shot in self-defense.
Neighbors of the shooter said they were also told by police at the scene that the shooting occurred based on self-defense.
McBride’s maternal aunt, Bernita Spinks, told The Detroit News the young woman was shot in the back of the head as she left the porch of the home where she sought assistance.
Spinks said no matter if the shooter believed McBride to be an intruder, shooting her was not justified.
“He shot her in the head … for what? For knocking on his door,” Spinks told The Detroit News on Tuesday. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911.”
Dearborn Heights police have asked the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to file charges against the shooter. Police have not made the person’s name public.
Spinks praised the decision to seek charges, saying, “Thank you Jesus! I’m very happy there is progress (on the case).”
Yet Michigan has a “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force against “perceived” threats to protect themselves, whether or not they attempt to flee.
Spinks said McBride’s family met with the Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday. She believes the shooting was racially motivated.
“You see a young black lady on your porch and you shoot?” Spinks said. “He killed my niece and he needs to pay for it. He needs to be in jail.”
“There was no window broken. My niece didn’t bother anyone. She went looking for help and now she’s dead.”
The area where McBride was killed in Dearborn Heights, a predominately white area, is about 12 miles west of Detroit, a predominantly black city.
McBride left home Friday night in a white Ford Taurus without telling anyone where she was going. Her family was informed of her death Monday morning, according to Fox 2.
McBride’s family said she was soft spoken, hardworking and stayed to herself. The Detroit News reported she had just begun a job at Ford Motor Co.
A vigil for McBride will take place Wednesday at 2045 GMT (4:45 pm EST) in front of the home where she was killed.