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Renisha McBride Shooting: Homeowner who killed teen "could have called 911" if he was afraid, says atty. for victim's family

Renisha McBride CBS Detroit

Renisha McBride, inset
CBS Detroit
(CBS) -The attorney representing the family of a Detroit teenager who was shot and killed while apparently seeking help after a car accident says the girl was injured and may have wandered a Dearborn Heights neighborhood for as long as an hour before arriving on the porch of the man who shot her.

According to attorney Gerald Thurswell, McBride hit a parked car and "sustained bruises and lacerations" late Nov. 1 or early Nov. 2. Thurswell said that he spoke with people at a home near the scene of the accident who told him they came outside to help McBride and found her bleeding from the head.

"She kept telling them, 'I want to go home, I want to go home,'" he said.

Thurswell said that the neighbor went into her home to call 911, and when she came back outside and saw McBride was gone, got in her car to look for her - but couldn't track her down. Thurswell said McBride, whose cell phone was apparently dead, likely wandered the neighborhood for about an hour.

"She knocked on several doors and no one answered," said Thurswell.

The one man who did come to the door, apparently came armed with a shotgun. McBride was shot in the face and died on the man's front porch.

Police have said the man, who has not been identified but is reportedly 54-years-old, told them he thought McBride was trying to break into his home and that the shotgun fired accidentally. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy reportedly asked the Dearborn Heights police to continue investigating the case before deciding whether to press charges against the man.

Cheryl Carpenter, the attorney representing the homeowner, told The Detroit News that the shooting was "justified."

"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.

Thurswell said that explanation sounds implausible.

"If he was in fear for his safety he could have called 911," he said. "He decided to open the door, go out on the porch and put a shotgun in her face...It's pretty hard for it to be an accident: your finger is on the trigger and the shotgun is in her face."

Thurswell said that he has confidence that police and prosecutors will thoroughly investigate the case and file "appropriate charges."

"We don't want a rush to judgment," he told Crimesider.

Thurswell said that McBride graduated from Southfield High School in 2012 and was working full-time at an auto plant and living at home with her mother at the time of her death.

Complete coverage of the Renisha McBride case on Crimesider

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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