Society

Autopsy Reveals Renisha McBride Shot in Face, Not at Close Range

| by Allison Geller

An autopsy shows that Renisha McBride, the 19-year-old of Detroit, Mi., who was shot and killed by a Dearborn Heights homeowner while seeking help after a car accident early in the morning on Nov. 2, was shot in the face, not at close range. Other than this fact, neither the autopsy nor the investigation has revealed any further answers.

The distance from which the shot was fired was not specified by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, The Detroit News reported, only that McBride died from a shotgun wound to the face.

Gerald Thurswell, the attorney who is representing McBride’s family, also provided more details about the events leading up to the woman’s death, which has been ruled a homicide.

Thurswell said McBride crashed her car in Detroit a mile away from the home on Outer Drive where she was shot. A woman and her family helped her at the scene and called 911, a call police dispatchers have confirmed.

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McBride was “confused” and said she wanted to go home, but her car was not able to be driven. She walked away and ended up on the porch of the shooter’s home, seeking help. That man has not yet been charged.

The case has prompted debate over the possibly racist motives of the shooter, a 54-year-old white man, as well as over the “Stand Your Ground” gun policy in Michigan that the shooter may have felt sanctioned his actions.

Michigan’s “Castle Doctrine” law says that a person can use deadly force if he or she “has an honest and reasonable belief that imminent death of, sexual assault of, or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another individual will occur” during a break-in.

The man’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, told The Huffington Post that the homeowner, who lives alone, complied with police.

“On that night he was woken up. ... Everything was dark in the house, and he was awoken by sounds of a person or persons trying to get into his home,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter did not comment on other details of the case, other than saying that the man called 911.

“He called 911 right away,” Carpenter said. “On the night of the shooting, he completely cooperated with police on his own. He went in and made a statement to them.”

Carpenter urged the public to wait to judge the case until all the facts came to light.

The man allegedly told police that the shotgun had fired accidentally.

“This man’s claiming — believed the girl was breaking into the home,” Lt. James Serwatowski, chief detective of the Dearborn Heights police, said in a police statement. “And he’s also saying the gun discharged accidentally.”

McBride’s funeral was held on Friday.

Sources: The Detroit News, The Huffington Post , Detroit Free Press