Renisha McBride Is Dead, and ‘Stand Your Ground’ Questions Emerge

No charges have been filed yet in the shooting death of a Detroit woman who sought help after a car accident.

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Police seized the homeowner’s 12-gauge shotgun, and the Michigan State Police crime lab is analyzing it, Serwatowski told the Free Press.

No arrests have been made, but police in Dearborn Heights submitted a warrant request to the county prosecutor’s office on Wednesday leveling “unspecified” charges in connection with the case, the Free Press reported.

“I know the family is anxious to see this man [the alleged shooter] charged,” Serwatowski told the Free Press, “but the prosecutor’s office is telling us they want a lot more information before they make a decision.”

For the public, at least, questions remain about what, if anything, may have happened to arouse fear and suspicion after McBride knocked on the Dearborn Heights door; why someone behind the door felt the need to involve, much less use, a shotgun during the exchange; and whether the gun was accidentally or intentionally fired.

Bernita Spinks, McBride’s aunt, described her niece as a sweet person who did not get into trouble.

As a result, McBride’s family, gun control advocates and anti-“Stand your ground” activists have described her shooting death as utterly unjustified. Several have also voiced suspicions that Michigan’s “Stand your ground” law may also be shaping the local prosecutor’s response.

Activists have planned a rally at 6 p.m. on Thursday outside the Dearborn Heights Police station. “Black life is not valued in America, not worthy, not respected,” Detroit activist Yusef Shaker, who is leading the rally, told the Free Press. “Here was a woman who was seeking help from potential danger and her life was taken ... It's a Trayvon Martin case all over again.”

McBride lived in neighboring Detroit, a city that is 83 percent black and where the median income sits just under $28,000 a year. Police in Dearborn Heights, a city where 86 percent of the population is white and the median income sits around $47,000 a year, have not released the shooter's name, race or said whether the weapon used in the McBride shooting was legally purchased, or owned.

But the early questions raised by the McBride case are not unique, gun control advocates say. Nearly 30 states around the country—many of them deeply red and guided by overwhelmingly Republican legislatures—maintain a “Stand your ground” law on the books, says Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

“Stand your ground” laws vary but generally give gun owners the legal right to shoot or otherwise injure anyone they believe poses an imminent threat of serious danger. The laws also remove any duty to attempt to retreat from a conflict or danger before one uses deadly force. Lobbyists for the National Rifle Association, the nation’s leading gun-rights organization, and politicians who count themselves among the membership of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC—a group that aims to ensure that corporate interests are represented when policy discussions happen—pushed the laws onto the books in 27 states. Most of the policies have been implemented in the last decade.