Police are seeking charges against a resident who’s accused of shooting a Detroit woman to death as she sought help after a late-night car crash.
Family members say 19-year-old Renisha McBride crashed about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in Dearborn Heights and knocked on the door of a home in the 16000 block of Outer Drive because her cell phone battery had died.
Preliminary autopsy results showed McBride was shot in the head by a shotgun, killing her.
Her aunt said the young woman, who’d recently started a job at Ford Motor Co., was shot as she turned to walk off the porch of the home where she’d sought assistance.
Police initially said they believed the shot was fired in self-defense, and a neighbor said officers told them shortly afterward that the homeowner had gotten scared and shot someone during an apparent break-in attempt.
Her family said they were initially told by police that McBride’s body had been dumped and discovered near Warren Avenue, but police are now saying the woman died on the home’s front porch.
McBride’s family said the shooting wasn’t justified, even if the resident believed the woman was an intruder trying to break in.
“He shot her in the head, (and) for what? For knocking on his door,” said McBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911.”
Spinks said her niece, who was black, was racially profiled in the predominantly white Dearborn Heights.
“She didn’t break in his house; she didn’t break a window,” Spinks said. “What, you seen somebody on your porch and you just start shooting? And then you say it was accidental? That wasn’t accidental; that wasn’t accidental, no.”
The case is remarkably similar to the Sept. 14 shooting death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a black former college football player who was shot and killed by police in North Carolina after wrecking his car late at night and seeking help from a nearby home.
An officer who responded to the homeowner’s 911 call fired 12 shots at Ferrell, hitting him 10 times, and is now charged with voluntary manslaughter.
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