Renisha McBride went looking for help after getting into a car accident this past weekend. Her family says the 19-year-old’s cellphone battery had died so she decided to go looking for help at a nearby house in the predominantly White suburb of Dearborn Heights in Detroit. The homeowner, an unidentified man in his 50s, fatally shot her on the porch.
Though police are now saying it may have been self-defense gone wrong—the perpetrator reportedly thought she was a burglar—McBride’s aunt Bernita Spinks tells Detroit News it was most likely a case of racial profiling.
“You see this Black African young lady knocking, not breaking in your house. Not breaking a window. Knocking for help. He didn’t even try to see what kind of help she needed,” said Spinks.
Few details have emerged about what happened that night. Police initially told the family that Renisha’s body had been “dumped” nearby. They later retracted their story, saying McBride died on the shooter’s front porch.
The shooter has not been arrested.
McBride’s death echoes that of Jonathan Ferrell, a former football player shot 10 times by police after seeking help in a North Carolina neighborhood two month ago. That homeowner called the police, believing Ferrell to be an intruder. Police officer Randall Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Michigan is a Stand Your Ground state.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Renisha McBride’s family.