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Fatal shooting of black teen leads to cries for justice

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. — Protesters and civil rights groups are calling for justice after a suburban Detroit homeowner fatally shot a black, 19-year-old woman on his porch.

No charges have been filed. Authorities said Renisha McBride of Detroit was killed by a shotgun blast to her face early Nov. 2 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.

“She was shot in the front of the face, near the mouth,” said police Lt. James Serwatowski.

Friends and family filled a Detroit church on Friday for a three-hour funeral, which was closed to the media. Outside the service, an aunt, Kay Lumpkin, said McBride was a former cheerleader who graduated from Southfield High School in 2012.

The theme of the funeral “was, it's a tragedy that didn't have to happen and not to let this be swept under the rug,” Lumpkin said.

Police made a request for charges, but the Wayne County prosecutor's office sent it back on Wednesday for more investigations. A vigil was held the same day outside the home, and about 50 people rallied on Thursday outside the police department.

“It's hard to ... believe it's an accident when a gun is in her face and the trigger is pulled,” the family's attorney, Gerald Thurswell, told The Detroit News.

The 54-year-old homeowner hasn't been arrested or named by police. His race was not reported.

“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,”said Cheryl Carpenter, one of two lawyers representing the man.

The teen's death has drawn attention from civil rights groups, including the NAACP.

the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. Associated Press seeking comment. McBride was an African-American.

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

“We join the greater Detroit community in mourning her passing and will closely monitor the developing investigation and legal proceedings,” said U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

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