Nineteen-year-old Renisha McBride was shot in the face by a homeowner in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, but according to an autopsy report by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office she was not shot at close range, casting more doubt on the unidentified 54-year-old homeowner’s claim that he felt he was in danger and was protecting his home when McBride came to his porch seeking assistance after a car accident.
“There was an entrance shotgun wound to the face, with no evidence of close range discharge of a firearm noted on the skin surrounding this wound,” reads the report by Assistant Medical Examiner Kilak Kesha, who ruled McBride’s death a homicide.
Gerald Thurswell, a Southfield attorney who is representing McBride’s family, yesterday provided more key details in the case. He said McBride was seeking help after crashing her car about a mile from the house where the shooting occurred. He said 911 dispatchers did receive a call about an accident.
The lawyer said that at the accident scene, a woman and her family came to the aid of McBride, who was bleeding in the face, but the confused young woman kept saying she wanted to go home.
“(McBride) went out and tried to drive her car, but it was not driveable,” Thurswell said.
As McBride walked away from the scene, the unidentified woman called 911.
The Detroit News has curiously decided not to identify the shooter because he hasn’t been charged, though ostensibly the newspaper believes the fact that a man shot a woman on his front porch is still news that should be reported. According to the independent publication VoiceofDetroit.net, which found the public records of the homeowner at the address on W. Outer Drive, the man’s name is Theodore Paul Wafer.
Cheryl Carpenter, a lawyer representing the man, has said the shooting was justified.
Protests have been staged in Detroit calling for officials to arrest the shooter—and prompting comparisons with the case of George Zimmerman in Florida. Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for months after shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and claiming self-defense.
While the man hasn’t been charged, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday it began reviewing a warrant request again as it awaits several items from the Dearborn Heights Police Department. Last week, the office returned an earlier warrant request to the police.
Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, would not say what items were being requested Monday.
Thurswell said yesterday it was unclear to him how the homeowner could say he was in “imminent danger” if he was in a locked house.
“I don’t see how he can avail himself of the Stand My Ground (defense),” said Thurswell. “I don’t see how.”
Arnold Reed, a prominent Farmington Hills attorney, on Monday told the Detroit News that the homeowner had a “serious uphill battle.”
“It’s unjustified to open your door and shoot someone in the face because they rang your doorbell or knocked on your door,” Reed said. He added that part of the legal test of Michigan’s self-defense law, likened to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, is whether the would-be intruder is in your home.
“Don’t open the door and call the police,” Reed said.
“The issue is whether … the person who fired the gun honestly believed that the occupants of the home were in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm and whether that belief was reasonable,” said Larry Dubin, a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.