Family gathered Friday for the funeral of the 19-year-old woman who was shot and killed last weekend near Detroit in a case that is drawing nationwide attention as concerns rise about possible racial profiling by the shooter.
Renisha McBride was shot and killed early Saturday by a homeowner who told police he thought she was an intruder when she knocked on his door and asked him for help early Saturday morning, following a car accident. No charges have been filed, and the unidentified 54-year-old man told police that his shotgun accidentally discharged when he approached McBride on his front porch. On Wednesday, the Wayne County prosecutor returned a warrant for the homeowner’s arrest to Dearborn Heights police, requesting “further investigation,” according to the Detroit News.
Two vigils have been held so far to push police to act, and McBride’s family has expressed dismay at the way the case has been handled so far. “It’s very, very, very hard to believe that it was an accident when the gun is in her face and it goes off accidentally,” Gerald Thurswell, a lawyer representing McBride’s family, told the Detroit Free Press before the nearly three-hour funeral.
Several civil rights leaders have already spoken out in support of McBride as well. “We are in prayer for the family of Renisha McBride, but we are also urgently calling for justice for the loss of this daughter, sister, and friend,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who leads the National Action Network.
A lawyer for the homeowner reiterated Thursday that her client believed McBride was an intruder. “I’m confident when the evidence comes it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life,” attorney Cheryl Carpenter told the Detroit News on Thursday. She added, “What is believed to have happened aren’t the facts and are not what happened that night.”