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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 the porch of his home. No charges have been filed after authorities said Renisha McBride, of Detroit, was killed by a shotgun blast to the face early Saturday in Dearborn Heights. According to police, man told investigators that he thought someone was trying to break into his home and accidentally discharged the gun.
“She was shot in the front of the face, near the mouth.” police Lt. James Serwatowski told the Detroit Free Press. McBride’s family this week said she likely approached the home to seek help after getting into a car accident nearby. “He shot her in the head … for what? For knocking on his door,” her aunt, Bernita Spinks, said.
Earlier this week, police said they requested a warrant authorizing in the case. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office sent the request back to police Wednesday for additional investigation before making a charging decision. “We will not be able to make a charging decision until the requested work has been completed, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
A vigil was held Wednesday at the home. About 50 people rallied Thursday outside the police department. The 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 54-year-old man, told The Detroit News.
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. A funeral for McBride was taking place on Friday.
McBride’s death has drawn attention from civil rights groups including the NAACP and the Rev. Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network. They called in part for a thorough investigation into the shooting. “We are in prayer for the family of Renisha Mcbride but we are also urgently calling for justice,” Sharpton said in a statement.