The NAACP in Detroit is calling for a full and comprehensive investigation of the death of Renisha McBride, 19, who was shot in the head Nov. 2 after seeking help from a homeowner who said his shotgun went off accidentally.
The NAACP demand, claiming another fatal instance of racial profiling, came on the eve of the Nov. 8 funeral for the Michigan girl who was shot in the head after knocking on the front door of a Dearborn Heights, Mich. home at 3:40 a.m. seeking assistance after a car accident in that middle-class Detroit suburb, according to police.
Dearborn Heights police said they have turned the decision to charge the homeowner over to Wayne County prosecutors who said more investigating is needed on whether to seek criminal charges against the man who told police his weapon “discharged accidentally.”
The death, apparently by a homeowner who told police he believed he was being burglarized, echoed the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. It was also reminiscent of the early morning shooting death by police in September in a Charlotte, N.C. suburb of a former Florida A&M University football player who was seeking help after a car accident.
According to police, McBride, 19, her cellphone battery dead, was seeking help after a 1:30 a.m. car accident.
Police said she was shot after knocking on the door of a still-unidentified homeowner. Police have not said whether he fired through an unopened door.
The McBride family and civil rights activists said she was the latest fatal victim of racial profiling and want the homeowner arrested and charged for the death of the African American teenager.
"Why didn't he call 911?" asked Bernita Spinks, 48, an aunt of McBride. "That's what I want to know. … It's racial profiling."
In McBride's case, Spinks said, the homeowner "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."
McBride's family said they were told the house was about four blocks away from where the accident occurred. Spinks told USA Today McBride had been driving her 2001 white Ford Taurus when she struck another car, parked and walked to find help.
"She was disoriented. She was scared. And this is what she got, knocking on a door," Spinks said. "All I want is justice for Renisha. It makes me enraged."
“He shot her in the head…..for what?” Spinks aunt told Detroit News. McBride died on the homeowner’s front porch.
About 40 family members and community activists held a vigil in front of the house where the shooting occurred. The family appeared to not be at home.
“We’re looking for justice to be served,” said community activist Ron Scott. He urged the Wayne County prosecutors to bring charges in the case.
A local minister, Rev. W.J. Rideout, added, “We are not going to let him get away with this senseless act he committed against this 19-year-old girl.
Dearborn Heights police released a statement saying they have identified the person who fired the shotgun blast to the head that killed the woman, but aren’t releasing the man’s identity saying he said he “was acting in self-defense.”
Spinks said there was no broken window at his home.
“My niece didn’t bother anyone. She went looking for help and now she’s dead.”
The shooting, along with a cluster shooting in a Detroit barbershop that killed three people and wounded six others, has touched off a fresh wave of calls for justice on Facebook and Twitter and new demands for an end to what the Detroit NAACP called “a relentless plague of senseless violence."
The Detroit NAACP, in a statement, "Have we become a society where we are no longer our neighbors’ keeper?
"… At the same time we are outraged over the tragic shootings at Al’s Place Barber Shop on Detroit’s Eastside… Three persons were killed in what was reminiscent of the gangster-like days of Al Capone and his crew… We as a community are compelled to address these issues devastating our neighborhoods. The disregard for human life and the callous insensitivity for children, women, and the elderly should leave us all demanding more from ourselves and those who enforce the law."
There is now a Justice for Renisha McBride Facebook page and Twitter followers have posted several tweets about the death of the innocent teen.
“The killing of Renisha McBride has left me sleepless. I can’t imagine her family’s suffering,” Dream Hampton tweeted.
“Woman shot to death on porch while trying to get help. Jeez…seeking assistance while black is a thing now,” Time Wise tweeted.
“Renisha McBride was only 19-years-old. She survived a car accident only to be killed by a coward,” T. Brown tweeted.
“You see a young black lady on your porch and you shoot?” Spinks said. “He killed my niece and he needs to pay for it. He needs to be in jail.”
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