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Homeowner claims he accidentally killed teen said to be looking for help, police say

Posted Nov 8, 2013 7:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The homeowner who fatally shot a Detroit woman said to be looking for help told police he believed the woman was breaking into his home and his gun accidentally discharged.

Police say there is no indication that race entered into the shooting of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, who was shot and killed early Saturday, the Detroit Free Press reports. The homeowner has not been identified.

Family members of McBride had said she may have been looking for help after a car accident about four blocks away. They said McBride, a black woman, was shot in the back of the head. The family questioned whether she was racially profiled.

But Dearborn Heights Police Lt. James Serwatowski said McBride was shot in the front of the face, not the back of the head, and the homeowner said he never saw her before the shooting, according to the Free Press account. The homeowner reported that he believed someone was breaking into his house and his gun went off by accident.

Lawyer Cheryl Carpenter, who represents the homeowner, told the Detroit News the shooting was justified. “I’m confident when the evidence comes out it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life,” she said.

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, called for a thorough investigation, according to the Detroit News. “This death appears to be an overreaction to a young woman in need of help,” he said.

“Was this a racial profiling? Was this shooting warranted when the evidence indicates that Ms. McBride had no weapon, created no disturbance, threatened no break-in, or demonstrated no disrespect to the household in question? So before anyone tries to invoke the issue of ‘stand your ground,’ ” let us first of all stand on the facts.”

Updated on Nov. 8 to fix a grammatical error.

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