Dearborn Heights police are seeking unspecified charges against a homeowner who shot a 19-year-old Detroit woman to death as she stood on the porch of his home early Saturday.
Members of Renisha McBride's family said they believe the African-American woman was racially profiled by the homeowner. They said McBride, whose cell phone had died, had gone up to the house on Outer Drive seeking help after she was involved in an auto accident early Saturday morning.
They say McBride was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun as she turned to leave.
Police released few details and would only say that McBride was shot as she stood on the porch.
"Why didn't he call 911?" asked Bernita Spinks, 48, of Allen Park, an aunt of McBride. "That's what I want to know. ... It's racial profiling."
Police have not released the name of the homeowner, who they said has been interviewed by investigators.
Spinks said the man who shot her niece was arrested, but later let go. She said she didn't know why McBride was driving in that area.
A warrant request was submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday, but the office has asked police for further investigation before a decision is made on whether any criminal charges will be authorized, according to Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.
Police said "the final report will be forwarded to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for review in the near future."
McBride's family said they were told the house was about four blocks away from where the accident occurred. Spinks said McBride had been driving her 2001 white Ford Taurus when she struck another car, parked and walked to find help.
Spinks said her niece was "just disoriented and started walking" to try to get help, "knocking on people's doors."
"All I want is justice for Renisha," Spinks said. "It makes me enraged."
The area where the shooting took place is a mix of residential and business; it's near Rouge Park.
McBride compared the shooting of her niece to that of Trayvon Martin, the African-American teen shot dead in Florida by George Zimmerman in a case that ignited a national debate over racial profiling and stand-your-ground laws. Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter but later acquitted by a jury.
In McBride's case, Spinks said: "He could have called the police. She wasn't in the backyard. She was at the front door knocking ... that man had the time to look out his window."
Grieving family members gathered Wednesday night at the house in northwest Detroit where McBride lived with her grandmother, mother and her 22-year-old sister.
Her parents were overcome with grief and unable to speak to a reporter, Spinks said. But all shared outrage over what happened.
A graduate of Southfield High School, McBride was known as a friendly person who worked hard, Spinks said. McBride recently got a job at the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn on the inspection line, she said.
"She was sweet," Spinks said. "She didn't get into trouble."
House of Prayer and Praise - the Detroit church attended by McBride's father - will hold services for her Friday, said co-pastor Valorie Bennett.
"It's terrible," she said Wednesday of the shooting.
"No one should have to suffer that way. The explanations that we've gotten just say this was a terrible injustice that shouldn't have happened," she said.
Detroit Free Press