Piecing together the mystery of Renisha McBride’s final hours

MapThis much police know for sure: 19-year-old Renisha McBride crashed into a parked car in Detroit shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 2 and walked off. Neighbors called 911 several times but McBride was nowhere to be found when police showed up.

And then, 2 hours and 45 minutes after she crashed her 2004 Ford Taurus at Bramell and Majestic, McBride was shot in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun on the front porch of a Dearborn Heights house six blocks from the accident, which was at the border of Detroit. The 54-year-old homeowner told police he “accidentally” pulled the trigger because he thought McBride, who is 5 foot 4, was trying to break in.

An autopsy report released Monday showed that McBride was not shot at close range, which makes a case for self-defense much more difficult.

Renisha McBride1What remains unclear is what happened to McBride between the time she got into a car crash and was killed. According to the autopsy report, McBride was wearing a blue jacket, blue shirt, black pants and white socks. Her clothes were wet, and it was sprinkling that night.

Her family’s attorney, Gerald Thurswell, said neighbors saw McBride bleeding in the face and confused, saying she wanted to go home, which was about a mile from the crash.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • johnmartin

    Burglars don’t knock. This guy committed manslaughter. You can’t shoot people who knock on your door at 3am or 3pm.

  • Greg Thrasher

    Imagine being disoriented and looking for help only to get shot in the fuckin face!!!!!

  • A Chami

    Blame the DPD. If they’d showed up when neighbors called, they would have stopped the victim from wandering off. Other reports have her returning to the scene an hour later.

  • Rap Stallion

    how do the white sox have anything to do with this?

    • Rap Stallion

      oh she had on white socks…that makes much more sense. the white sox were hapless, but i didn’t think they were killers

      • Meaghan Allen

        Lol. I was going to say… This is Detroit. The White Sox are irrelevant in this city and unwelcome here. 🙂


    Rule #1, if you get into an accident DON’T WALK AWAY because if you do, you have already committed a crime. Rule #2 DON’T KNOCK ON STRANGERS DOORS AT 3AM in an unknown neighborhood.

    • Meaghan Allen

      Well, she likely walked away because a “hit and run” violation is generally not as severe as a “3x the legal limit, as an underaged driver who was also under the influence of marijuana” would be. I’ve read she had just taken a job with Ford, so I’m sure being required to disclose drug and alcohol use to her new employer outweighed the crime of leaving the accident. On top of arrests, etc.

      I agree with you on #2, but if you have no other option, you’re best bet is to look for a house that has a playground set or something that indicated kids live there. Parents are more receptive to helping people and presumably, if they have guns, know something about gun safety, so as to protect their kids from terrible accidents. Then, knock loudly fa few times, and quickly get off the porch and stand on the walkway with your hand clearly visible, so that you don’t seem as threatening and “in your face.” Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to anyone in the near future again. It really underlines the idea that you should be familiar with your surroundings.

  • bebow

    How could the homeowner shoot Renisha in the face on that tiny porch if not at close range or through the door, assuming he was inside the house? Opinions?