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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Screenshot of Renisha McBride; Floridians protest "Stand your ground" gun laws in 2012.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Editor's note: This story has been updated from an earlier version to reflect new developments.

A Michigan woman’s death has joined the ranks of shootings that gun control advocates and those concerned about the dangers of racial profiling attribute to a gun owner emboldened by a “Stand your ground” law.  

On Nov. 3, Detroit resident Renisha McBride was driving alone, involved in an accident and in need of help, relatives told the Detroit News, a local newspaper. Her cellphone was dead. Within minutes of knocking on the door of a house in a section of suburban Dearborn Heights, Mich., McBride was dead.

Someone behind the door of an unidentified house on Outer Drive shot McBride in the head.

McBride’s family told local reporters this week that the 19-year-old was shot in the back of the head while attempting to leave the home where she had stopped to ask for help. McBride’s aunt also told a local reporter that the young woman was disoriented after crashing into another car.

Until Thursday, police in Dearborn Heights had refused to make public even the most basic information about McBride’s shooting—exactly where it occurred, who fired the weapon, where McBride was shot or what the shooter has said to explain his or her actions. Late Thursday, Dearborn Heights Police Lt. James Serwatowski disclosed some information about the shooting that conflicted with the family's version of events and revealed only slightly more about the shooter and the incident that cost McBride her life.

Dearborn Heights police say the homeowner involved in the McBride shooting told investigators that the shotgun accidentally went off, the Detroit Free Press, another local paper, reported.

“This man’s claiming—believed the girl was breaking into the home. And he’s also saying the gun discharged accidentally,” Lt. James Serwatowski, the chief detective, told the Detroit paper.

Serwatowski also said that the family has been wrong in telling reporters that McBride was shot in the back of the head. McBride was shot in the face, according to the Free Press. “I’ll confirm that she was in an accident in Detroit and that she left the accident scene, and then some hours transpired” before the shooting, he told the Free Press.

According to Serwatowski, the shooting occurred about 3:40 a.m., and the accident happened at about 1:30 a.m. The lieutenant wouldn't comment on what the police believe happened before and after the accident.