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Renisha McBride Update: Shooting of Mich. teen who was reportedly seeking help after accident sparks outrage

Renisha McBride
CBS Detroit
Renisha McBride
CBS Detroit

(CBS/AP) DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. - Protesters and civil rights groups are calling for justice after a Michigan man fatally shot Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old African-American woman on the porch of his home, reports CBS Detroit.

McBride, of Detroit, was killed by a shotgun blast at a home in Dearborn Heights around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Family members say McBride had been seeking help at the home after her cell phone died following a car accident. They say McBride was shot in the back of the head as she turned to leave and that they believe her death is a case of racial profiling.

Police, however, said McBride was actually shot in the front of her face, near her mouth. They requested a warrant in the case, but the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office sent the request back on Wednesday for additional investigation before making a charging decision, reports the station.

The race and identity of the 54-year-old homeowner, along with the possible charges against him, have not been released. Police say the man told them he thought someone was trying to break into his home and accidentally discharged the gun.

A vigil was held Wednesday at the man's home, while about 50 people reportedly rallied outside the police department on Thursday.

Protesters walked the streets, passing out fliers to local residents that read in part: "A man in this neighborhood shot and killed a teenaged woman after she sought help following a car accident. ... We demand our neighbor who shot and killed teenager Renisha McBride be held accountable for his actions! Call Dearborn police now and demand justice."

Peggy Jarvis, of Warren, said things like this happen due to a lack of compassion.

"I think our hearts need to change, that we start seeing each other as one family, as one humanity, and understanding of each other's stories and each other's plight," she told CBS Detroit.

Tawana Petty, who was visibly upset, thinks people should be rallying around this case just as they did for Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

"Enough is enough. Where is this man, who is he connected to and why don't we know who he is? Why is he not in jail? If my son was 19 and shot somebody, he would be under that jail. This is wrong, this is wrong and everybody needs to be out here complaining about it," she said.

The homeowner's lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, told The Detroit News 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.

McBride's death has drawn attention from civil rights groups including the NAACP and the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. They called in part for a thorough investigation into the shooting.

"We are in prayer for the family of Renisha McBride but we are also urgently calling for justice," Sharpton said in a statement.

McBride's aunt, Bernita Spinks, who is acting as family spokeswoman, said the family wants justice.

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

Complete coverage of the Renisha McBride case on Crimesider