Autopsy: Detroit woman, 19, shot in face on porch
DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Michigan (AP) — An autopsy on a 19-year-old black woman killed in front of a suburban Detroit home where she’d reportedly gone to seek help after a car crash confirms that she died of a gunshot wound to her face.
Renisha McBride, of Detroit, was fatally shot Nov. 2 in the predominantly white town of Dearborn Heights. Civil rights groups have called for a vigorous prosecution in the case, saying the former cheerleader was targeted because of her race.
The case has drawn comparisons to that of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy shot by a suspicious neighbor in Florida. The 2012 shooting death of Martin, black and unarmed, and the acquittal this year of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman stirred racial tensions. It sparked debate over so-called stand your ground laws that protect gun owners who claim to shoot in self-defense in Florida and at least 22 other states, including Michigan.
Gun control, always a politically divisive issue in the United States, has become more so in the wake of several recent mass shootings, such as in Newtown, Connecticut, and the Washington Navy Yard.
Prosecutors in Michigan say they’re reviewing whether to charge the 54-year-old homeowner who shot McBride. Wayne County prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Maria Miller said Monday a warrant review process is underway as they await information from police. Police did not return messages seeking comment Monday.
Investigators have said the homeowner told them he thought someone was trying to break into his home and that he accidentally discharged his shotgun.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office report released Monday ruled McBride’s death was a homicide. There’s no evidence she was shot at close range, according to the report.
The homeowner’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, told The Detroit News that the man was awakened in the early hours by what sounded like “a person or persons” trying to get into his home. Carpenter said the shooting was justified but did not comment on reports that it was accidental.
She said she and her client “recognize it’s a tragedy and a 19-year-old woman died.”
McBride’s death has drawn attention from civil rights groups including the NAACP and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. They called for a thorough investigation.