Renisha McBride was unarmed when she knocked on a door at 3:40 am on November 2 seeking help after a car accident, but the homeowner mistook her for a burglar and shot her in the face, killing the 19-year-old.
In the days since the killing the Detroit case has sprung into the national attention, drawing comparisons to the Trayvon Martin killing of last year.
There are striking parallels with both cases. Martin and McBride were both unarmed at the time they were killed, and both mistaken for burglars. Like Florida, Michigan also has a “stand your ground” law that allows individuals to kill others when they perceive a threat to their life.
And in both cases, police at least initially did not arrest the shooter.
In Detroit, police said they are still looking into the circumstances surrounding Renisha McBride’s death.
“This man’s claiming – believed the girl was breaking into the home,” chief detective Lt. James Serwatowski told the Detroit Free Press. “And he’s also saying the gun discharged accidentally.”
A statement from McBride’s family calls the incident into question, saying the homeowner did not contact the police as he said he did.
“The alleged assailant did not, according to reports, immediately notify the police that the shooting had taken place. It was reported that instead neighbors contacted police about the shooting. He has not, to date, been arrested.”
Police have seized the 12-gauge shotgun the homeowner used to kill Renisha McBride, and the Dearborn Heights police department sent a request to Wayne County prosecutors for charges to be filed against the man. The shooter’s name has still not been released.
On Wednesday friends and family held a vigil outside McBride’s home, and protesters have targeted the Dearborn Heights Police Department.
The Detroit Branch of the NAACP also issued a statement calling for the killing of Renisha McBride to be “investigated at every level.”