Just a week after Theodore Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder for killing teenager Renisha McBride on his front porch, a sheriff’s deputy in Virginia shot his 16-year-old daughter in the torso when he mistook her for an intruder as she tried to sneak back in the house in the middle of the night.
Easton McDonald, a sergeant with the Loudoun County sheriff’s office, then crashed his car into a barricade as he tried to race her to the hospital, requiring paramedics to respond and take her to the hospital. The girl is in stable condition at Winchester Medical Center, according to Capt. Donnie Lang of the Frederick County sheriff’s office.
For many observers, the incident brings to mind the case of Wafer, who grabbed his rifle when he heard pounding on his front door and shot McBride in the face as she came toward him on the porch. The racial implications in that case were clear, since Wafer lived in a suburb just outside Detroit where many residents were afraid of what they believed to be Detroit’s menacing dangers reaching into their community. Many observers would say that this generalized fear of an unknown intruder is behind the proliferation of gun ownership in America and the passing of Stand Your Ground laws in 33 states.
In this case, as McDonald was getting ready for work at 3:30 a.m., he heard the family’s home security alarm alert him that a garage door had been opened, Lang said. When McDonald heard noises coming from the garage, he retrieved his privately owned gun—not his service revolver.
“He figured someone had broken into the garage, and his family was upstairs asleep,” Lang said.
When he opened the garage door, McDonald saw the dark shape of a person coming toward him.
“At that particular point, he discharges his firearm and strikes the person in the torso area,” Lang said. “Then he hears her voice and recognizes that it’s his daughter.”
McDonald put the girl, a 16-year-old student at Millbrook High School, in the car and called 911, telling the operator that he was taking his daughter to the hospital. But on his way there, Lang said, McDonald lost control of his car and hit a barricade. While he damaged the front of the vehicle, he didn’t cause any additional injuries to his daughter or injure himself.
Emergency responders then brought the girl to Winchester.
A 13-year veteran of the force, McDonald has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation by the Loudoun sheriff’s office.