Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Renisha McBride    

The autopsy for a 19-year-old Detroit woman who was shot after, her family believes, she went looking for help because of a car accident has revealed in gruesome detail how she died.

According to the Detroit Free Press, which received a copy of the autopsy report, Renisha McBride was shot in the face and not at close range.


This contradicts the family's earlier statement that McBride was shot in the back of the head.

The 54-year-old male Dearborn Heights homeowner, who lives alone and has not been identified, since charges have not been filed, claims that he believed McBride was trying to break into his home. McBride's family believes that the homeowner racially profiled McBride.


"On that night he was woken up … Everything was dark in the house, and he was awoken by sounds of a person or persons trying to get into his home," said the homeowner's lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, the Detroit News reports.

While details about exactly what happened that Nov. 1 night have been slow to emerge, what is clear is that around 1 a.m., police received a call about an accident on the city's west side. According to the Free Press, the woman was speeding, struck a parked car and then got out of the vehicle and left the scene.


Police considered the incident "low priority" and did not dispatch an officer. Officers did respond some 40 minutes later, after they received a second call saying that the woman had returned. But she was no longer there when police arrived, the Free Press reports. 

A source told the Free Press that the vehicle involved in the accident was McBride's 2004 Ford Taurus, registered to her father, and the car suffered front-end damage. An attorney for the McBride family told the Free Press that McBride was confused after the accident and was heard repeatedly saying she "wanted to go home."


"I received a phone call on Friday from a woman who said that she lived in the neighborhood and had heard the crash," McBride family attorney Gerald Thurswell said. "It was her understanding that after the crash, Renisha got out of the car, she was bleeding, and that somebody called 911."

Thurswell said that a woman who didn't leave her name also told him that a neighbor tried to find her but wasn't successful.


A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office declined to speak to the Free Press about whether the office is interviewing witnesses.

In a statement released Monday, Wayne County prosecutors have said that they are reviewing the warrant and will release information when they determine if charges will be filed in the case.


"I'm confident when the evidence comes, it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life," Carpenter said last Thursday. She is representing the man with her father, attorney Mack Carpenter, the Detroit News reports.

"What is believed to have happened aren't the facts and are not what happened that night," Carpenter added.


The case has sparked an uproar among those in the black community who believe that this is another example of an unjustified shooting of an unarmed African American.

"This shooting must be investigated at every level," the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, said earlier this week. "Following the lead of the Dearborn Heights Police Department and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, we must bring to justice any person found guilty of this tragedy. This death appears to be an overreaction to a young woman in need of help.


"Was this a racial profiling? Was this shooting warranted, when the evidence indicates that Ms. McBride had no weapon, created no disturbance, threatened no break-in or demonstrated no disrespect to the household in question?" Anthony told the Detroit News. "So before anyone tries to invoke the issue of 'Stand your ground,' let us first of all stand on the facts."

Read more at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

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