Criminal Justice

Homeowner is accused of shooting teen Renisha McBride through screen door

A Detroit-area homeowner has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the Nov. 2 shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, who was killed while standing on the man’s porch after crashing her car.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced the charges this morning against Theodore Wafer, 54, of Dearborn Heights, report the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press and the New York Times. Worthy said Wafer apparently opened his front door after McBride knocked, and then fired through a closed and locked screen door.

Worthy said there is no evidence that someone tried to break into the home. McBride’s relatives have said they believe the teen was likely seeking help after the car crash about a mile away and may have been racially profiled. McBride is black and Wafer is white.

According to prior reports, Wafer reportedly told police his gun fired accidentally. Wafer’s lawyer has said her client had a reasonable fear for his life and the shooting was justified. But Worthy said prosecutors don’t believe Wafer acted in lawful self defense.

“Under Michigan law,” Worthy said, “there is no duty to retreat in your own home; however, someone who claims self-defense must honestly and reasonably believe that he is in imminent danger of either losing his life or suffering great bodily harm and that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent that harm.”

Toxicology tests showed McBride had a blood alcohol level of .218 and traces of marijuana in her system.

Related articles: “Homeowner claims he accidentally killed teen said to be looking for help, police say” “Family members call for justice in slaying of black woman said to be seeking help after car accident”

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