DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit homeowner was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the death of a 19-year-old woman who was shot in the face while on his front porch nearly two weeks ago.
Theodore P. Wafer, 54, of Dearborn Heights, also faces a manslaughter charge in the death of Renisha McBride, who was killed in the early-morning hours on Nov. 2, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
Police say McBride, a former high school cheerleader, was shot a couple hours after being involved in a nearby car accident. Family members say she likely approached Wafer’s home for help.
The shooting has drawn attention from civil rights groups who called for a thorough investigation and believe race was a factor in the shooting — McBride was black; Wafer is white. Some have drawn comparisons between this case and that of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Florida boy shot in 2012 by a suspicious neighbor.
But Worthy insisted Friday that race wasn’t relevant in her decision to file charges and wouldn’t compare the case to Martin’s death.
“It’s always interesting to me what the public makes their decisions on when it comes to one way or another,” Worthy said. “We have the facts. We have the evidence. We make our decision on that and that alone.
“In this case, the charging decision has nothing whatever to do with the race of the parties. Whether it becomes relevant later on in the case, I don’t know. I’m not clairvoyant,” she said.
What happened between when McBride crashed into a parked vehicle several blocks north of Wafer’s Dearborn Heights neighborhood and the shooting remains unclear.
Police received a 911 call from Wafer about 4:42 a.m., in which he tells the dispatcher: “I just shot somebody on my front porch with a shotgun, banging on my door.”