Family attorney calls for justice in death of Renisha McBride

As prosecutors mull charges, attorney calls for justice in death of Renisha McBride

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Renisha McBride, 19 Renisha McBride, 19
Attorney Gerald Thurswell Attorney Gerald Thurswell
DETROIT (WJBK) -

More details in the moments leading up to the killing of Renisha McBride. She's the teenager shot on a porch in Dearborn Heights reportedly because the homeowner thought she was breaking in.

Investigators are trying to figure out how this happened. According to the autopsy she has a bullet hole in her cheek and that shot was not made at close range. But the family's attorney says not being at close range is closer than you think. He could've still had that shotgun inches away from her face. And a police source tells us that the bullet from the shotgun went through a screen door.

"She's five feet, four (inches) and he's got a shotgun and he's got a safety on that gun. He takes off the safety and he blows her head off," says Gerald Thurswell.

Thurswell is the attorney representing Renisha's family and we asked him about what happened in the hours before Renisha's death. Where was she heading that night?

"She was going to her girlfriend's house," says Thurswell.

Did she ever make it there?

"We don't believe so."

But they do know Renisha was involved in a car crash before she was killed. Detroit police telling us Renisha hit a parked car at the Bramell and Majestic, but she left the scene. A witness, we're told, was really worried about her.

"The woman finds that she was bleeding from the face. She's saying 'I wanna go home, I wanna go home,'" says Thurswell. "The woman calls 911 and Renisha gets in the car thinking she can start it. The car's not driveable. 'I wanna go home' and she walks away."

They say she was dazed and confused. Someone else on the same scene, another witness, shared with investigators that Renisha appeared to be intoxicated.

"Let's assume she was drunk. Does that give anybody the right to take a shotgun and blow her head off?" asks Thurswell. "That's an excuse. It's not a justification."

"She could have been arrested and taken to jail and we could've came and got her, if we had to get her the next day," says Bernita Spinks, Renisha's aunt. "But she didn't deserve to die because she knocked on somebody's door."

Because the shooter is a white male, and Renisha black, the issue of race has raised its head. But Thurswell believes color should not be the center of this case.

"I think this was human... human profiling. He did not value life."

A police source tells FOX 2 the shot was fired through a screen on the door though there is no such thing at the home now.

How did Renisha spend the final moments of her life?

"I believe she was knocking on the door," says Thurswell. "She may have been pounding on the door. OK? Let's say she's pounding on the door. The man hears the pounding and what would you do? You would call 911. And we know that after he shot and killed her when he called 911, Dearborn police were there within 2-3 minutes. So when he hears the banging, if he acted like a reasonable person and called the police they'd have been there in 2-3 minutes and we wouldn't have this interview today. Renisha would not be dead."

The shooter's attorney called his actions justified. While early on, police say he said what happened on the porch was an accident.

"How is it an accident?" asks Thurswell. "He was safe in his own home. His doors were locked. He didn't have to go outside. He could've called 911. How is it justified? If I put a shotgun in your face, what was this woman doing to threaten him? She had no weapon."

People across this country want justice. And they are waiting on the Wayne County prosecutor's office to make its decision. Will the shooter be charged? Or not?

Earlier this week the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said it had begun a warrant review process related to death of Renisha. The office said Wednesday that Dearborn Heights police have provided "additional investigation" material.

"If Kym Worthy spends a week or two or whatever time to get all of her facts in order and build a strong case. We want her to get a conviction. That's what we want. A conviction is justice. Charges and putting him behind jail temporarily is not justice," says Thurswell.

"In order for all i's to be dotted and all t's to be crossed, you must take your time. It's going to take some time, but I have confidence in Kym Worthy being who she is," says Spinks.

They know (Worthy) as being thorough and doing the job that needs to be done.

The family says they appreciate all the support from here at home and across the country. And for those that want to do something for them, they ask that you please pray for their family and pray for justice.

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