DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Protesters and civil rights groups are calling for justice after a suburban Detroit homeowner fatally shot a 19-year-old woman on his porch.
No charges have been filed after authorities said Renisha McBride, of Detroit, was killed by a shotgun blast to the face early last Saturday in Dearborn Heights, but the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office has begun reviewing the Dearborn Heights Police Department investigation for possible charges against the 54-year-old homeowner who shot McBride, MLive reports:
“They have completed most of it and we’re still waiting for a few things,” Miller said. “But we have begun our warrant review process.”
Miller said the review “should not be protracted” but could not provide a specific timeline for completion.
“I can’t tell you that; I have told you everything that I can tell you,” Miller said when asked if completion hinged on receiving the couple remaining pieces of information requested from police.
Michigan has a “Stand-Your-Ground” law, which allows for the use of deadly force if a citizen fears an imminent physical threat. It is not known if the shooter will invoke the law if he is charged. He told investigators that he thought someone was trying to break into his home and accidentally discharged the gun when the teen was on his property, according to police. McBride’s family said she likely approached the home to seek help after getting into a car accident nearby.
“She was shot in the front of the face, near the mouth,” police Lt. James Serwatowski told the Detroit Free Press.
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.
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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 has not 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. McBride was an African-American.
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.
“We join the greater Detroit community in mourning her passing and will closely monitor the developing investigation and legal proceedings,” said U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.