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Protesters call for justice after porch killing

November 8, 2013

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Michigan (AP) — Protesters and civil rights groups are calling for justice after a suburban Detroit homeowner fatally shot a 19-year-old African-American woman in the face on the porch of his home.

No charges have been filed after authorities said Renisha McBride was killed by a shotgun blast early Saturday. According to police, man told investigators that he thought someone was trying to break into his home and accidentally discharged the gun.

McBride’s family this week said she likely approached the home to seek help after getting into a car accident nearby.

Friends and family filled a Detroit church Friday for a three-hour funeral, which was closed to reporters. Outside the service, an aunt, Kay Lumpkin, said McBride was a former cheerleader who graduated from Southfield High School in 2012.

The theme of the funeral “was, it’s a tragedy that didn’t have to happen and not to let this be swept under the rug,” Lumpkin said.

Police made a request for charges, but the Wayne County prosecutor’s office sent it back Wednesday for additional investigation. A vigil was held that same day outside the home, and about 50 people rallied Thursday outside the Police Department.

“It’s hard to ... believe it’s an accident when a gun is in her face and the trigger is pulled,” the family’s attorney, Gerald Thurswell, told The Detroit News.

The 54-year-old homeowner hasn’t been arrested or named by police.

“I’m confident when the evidence comes it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life,” Cheryl Carpenter, one of two lawyers representing the man, told The Detroit News.

Her client’s race has not been reported, and she did not return a message left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

A lawyer for McBride’s family said it’s doubtful her death was an accident.

“It’s hard to ... believe it’s an accident when a gun is in her face and the trigger is pulled,” attorney Gerald Thurswell told the News.

McBride’s death has drawn attention from civil rights groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. They called in part for a thorough investigation into the shooting.

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