A woman who appeared to need help in the middle of the night and was subsequently shot to death may have been the victim in a case of self-defense gone wrong, according to WJBK-TV.
Renisha McBride, 19, was killed Saturday in Dearborn Heights, Mich, located just west of Detroit. Her family says she approached a stranger's house for help around 2:30 a.m. after she had a car accident, according to the Detroit News. She was fatally shot on the porch.
McBride’s aunt Bernita Spinks told the paper she believes it was a case of racial profiling.
“He shot her in the head ... for what? For knocking on his door,” Spinks told the paper.“If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911. ... She went looking for help and now she’s dead.”
Family members described McBride as a hardworking, soft-spoken woman who keeps to herself, according to WJBK-TV.
Earlier, police said that the victim's body had been left on the porch after her death, but police since determined that she was shot there. Police said they have identified the shooter, but haven't released a name. According to the Dearborn Press & Guide, a report has been sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, who would be responsible for charging the suspect.
Though police have so far released few details about the suspect or the circumstances of McBride's death, commenters have reacted with remorse and outrage, drawing parallels to other cases where African-American victims were allegedly killed without cause.
People reacted strongly on Twitter:
I am tired of having to constantly reiterate that black women are, in fact, people. #RenishaMcBride
— Léonicka (@leonicka) November 6, 2013
Why are so many unarmed black people being shot and killed in the US? #RenishaMcBride
— Luso Mnthali (@lkmnthali) November 6, 2013
Because she's a Black woman, not man, Renisha McBride's story will likely not go viral, though it's exactly like Jonathan Ferrell's
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) November 6, 2013
In September, North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick shot former football player Jonathan Ferrell 10 times leaving his parents and the local NAACP chapter questioning whether race played a role in the shooting.
After crashing his car, Ferrell attempted to seek help in a nearby neighborhood. A homeowner made the 911 call after Ferrell knocked on the door, mistaking him for an intruder, according to the Associated Press. Police responding to the breaking and entering call said Ferrell continued to run toward them when Kerrick shot him. Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.
But...as it currently stands, #RenishaMcBride's case is a more egregious example of the dangerous side of "castle doctrine" or SYG laws
— TouchVisionTV Munk (@Felonious_munk) November 6, 2013
Michigan has a version of a "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows individuals to use deadly force without first retreating if they believe it's necessary to prevent imminent harm or death. Some activists and legislators have called for the law to be changed.
Clarification: Additional details have been included to provide a clearer account of the incident involved Ferrell and Kerrick.