Teen Looks for Help, Is Shot on Porch Instead

The aunt of a Michigan teen looking for help after a car accident believes that her niece was racially profiled and killed. 

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Renisha McBride

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Renisha McBride was involved in a car accident around 2:30 last Sunday morning. She sought help once she realized her cellphone battery had died.

The 19-year-old would later be found dead on the porch of the Dearborn Heights, Mich., home where she went to seek assistance, the Detroit News reports.

McBride was driving her 2001 white Ford Taurus when she struck another car. She then parked and began walking to look for help. She ended up in an area that the Detroit Free Press describes as a "mix of residential and business."

Mcbride's maternal aunt Bernita Spinks told the Detroit Free Press that her niece was shot in the back of her head, an indication, she believes, that her niece was leaving the home when the owner shot her. According to the Detroit News, a preliminary autopsy report shows that a shotgun was used to shoot the teen.

Police have sent a request to the Wayne County prosecutor's office asking that unspecified charges be filed against the homeowner in what has been called a case of self-defense gone bad, the Detroit Free Press reports. The prosecutor's office has asked police for further investigation before they decide whether or not to file criminal charges, Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, told the Detroit Free Press.

While details are still unclear about what happened early Saturday morning, Spinks, who also spoke with the Detroit News, believes that her niece was a victim of racial profiling. Authorities have not identified the suspect's race or gender, but she also believes that the person who shot her niece was a male.

"He shot her in the head ... for what? For knocking on his door," said Spinks on Tuesday. "If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911. You see a young black lady on your porch and you shoot?" Spinks said. "He killed my niece and he needs to pay for it. He needs to be in jail. There was no window broken. My niece didn't bother anyone. She went looking for help, and now she's dead."

Spinks compared her niece's shooting to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teen who was shot while returning to his father's home by then-neighborhood watch commander George Zimmerman.

Family members, still grieving Wednesday night, gathered at McBride's house in northwest Detroit, where she lived with her 22-year-old sister, mother and grandmother. Her parents were still too devastated by the news to speak with reporters, Spinks told the Detroit Free Press.

Spinks described McBride, who graduated from Southfield High School, as a hard worker and friendly person. “She was sweet,” Spinks told the Detroit Free Press. “She didn’t get into trouble.”

Read more at the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press

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