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Renisha McBride, 19, Killed While Looking for Help

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 11, 2013 1:34 PM

Michigan teenager Renisha McBride was shot and killed by a homeowner after she came to his porch seeking help for her injuries after a car crash.

The yet-unidentified homeowner told police he thought 19-year-old McBride was "trying to break into his home and the shotgun fired accidentally," CBS News reports. McBride died on the man's porch from a lethal shotgun blast to the face.

Will criminal charges be filed against McBride's killer?

Killer's Lawyer Insists Shooting Was 'Justified'

The incident which led to McBride's death occurred November 2. But as of Monday, no arrests had been made in connection with her death.

In a statement released Thursday, McBride's relatives cast doubt on initial reports that her killer had called the police after her shooting, reports the Detroit Free Press.

According to CBS News, the homeowner's attorney said she is "confident" that her client's shooting of McBride was "justified."

This unfortunate case comes just months after Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was also killed while seeking help after a car crash. In Ferrell's case, the woman who heard Ferrell's banging on her door allegedly thought he was a burglar, summoning police who later shot and killed Ferrell. The officer who opened fire was charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Self-Defense and Criminal Charges

Protesters who have rallied for police action in McBride's case are convinced this is part of a larger issue. One activist told the Free Press that their rally was about "recognizing the value of a woman and the value of a black person," and that McBride's case was "a Trayvon Martin case all over again."

McBride was black, but the identity of her killer has not been released.

In Martin's case as in McBride's, investigators will need to evaluate the homeowner's claims of self-defense in light of the circumstances of McBride's death. Michigan has laws similar to Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws which allow homeowners to defend themselves with lethal force when faced with a serious immediate threat.

CBS News reports that Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has asked Dearborn Heights police to continue investigating the case before deciding whether to file charges.

Regardless of the criminal charges filed against the homeowner, Renisha McBride's relatives -- like Jonathan Ferrell's -- can still file a wrongful death suit against the person who killed their loved one.

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