Investigating the alleged "accidental discharge" of shotgun

Investigating the alleged "accidental discharge" of homeowner's shotgun that killed Renisha McBride

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A shotgun at Action Impact, a gun store in Southfield, Mich. NOTE: This is not the homeowner's weapon A shotgun at Action Impact, a gun store in Southfield, Mich. NOTE: This is not the homeowner's weapon
(WJBK) -

An "accident."

That's what the homeowner reportedly told police about 19-year-old Renisha McBride's death.

No charges have been filed after authorities said Renisha, of Detroit, was killed by a shotgun blast to the face early last Saturday in Dearborn Heights. A man told investigators that he thought someone was trying to break into his home and accidentally discharged the gun, according to police.
 
McBride's family said she likely approached the home to seek help after getting into a car accident nearby.

Fox 2's Randy Wimbley asks the experts how exactly a shotgun works and, if the explanation that the gun accidentally discharged is plausible.  

VIDEO: Watch his report in the video player above or read the transcript below

____________________________


An "accident."

That's what the shooter reportedly told police about 19-year-old Renisha McBride's death. She was killed with a shotgun.

So how exactly does this weapon work and are there any chances of it accidentally going off?

"Pull it back into my shoulder, lean into the shot, line up my sight picture." Those are the steps Action Impact's Martez Boggon takes before firing a shotgun. Action Impact is a gun store in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit.

The shotgun is one of the most powerful firearms ever made and is commonly used for home defense.

Demonstrating how it works, store-owner Bill Kucyk says, "When I would pull it back I would unload it, and, assuming if it were loaded, as I go up - the shotgun would then load."

The shotgun, whether pump action or semi-automatic is effective and deadly, something Renisha McBride's family knows all too well.

"She was a beautiful girl and she would not have hurt anybody. There was no threat," said Renisha's cousin, Krystal Byrd, at her funeral on Friday.

Her death is being described as an accident.

Kucyk begs to differ. "I call it pretty much negligent discharge," he says. "I believe, that for any one of these shotguns to fire, you're finger is going to have to be on the trigger, that trigger is going to have to be pulled."

He says  a shotgun has to be severely damaged or extremely defective for it to fire without the trigger being pulled, and even that would be a stretch.

"I don't know how else it could go off, to be honest with you. I would have to hear what the explanation is to see if that was even theoretically possible," Kucyk adds.

We hit the range with Boggon, an army veteran who's seen combat in Afghanistan and has used shotguns extensively. He says they don't accidentally go off.

"Shotguns will not misfire. Shotguns have safeties. Once that safety's off, it's up to you to squeeze that trigger," Boggon says.

So if Renisha's shooting was accidental, how did it happen?

"It can go off on a sympathetic nerve response, and what that means is, I intended to do something else but I inadvertently pulled the trigger," Kucyk explains. He continues, "If there was a struggle and my hand happened to be on this gun, and for some reason the gun was pulled forward while my finger is on the trigger, it's going to discharge."

Dearborn Heights Police have revealed few details surrounding Renisha's death. Our phone calls Friday were neither answered nor returned, and for now the circumstances surrounding Renisha's death remain a mystery.

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