Family of Michigan woman sues homeowner in porch shooting case

By Aaron Foley
Theodore Wafer sits in the court room during his arraignment in Detroit, Michigan
Theodore Wafer sits in the court room during his arraignment in Detroit, Michigan January 15, 2014, for the November 2, 2013 shooting death of Renisha McBride in Dearborn Heights. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

By Aaron Foley

DETROIT (Reuters) - The family of a 19-year-old black woman shot dead by a white suburban homeowner after she knocked on his door early in the morning last November filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him on Tuesday.

The shooting of Renisha McBride in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, sparked controversy in the Detroit area, which has long been troubled by racial tensions.

A jury on Aug. 7 convicted Theodore Wafer, 55, of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and felonious use of a firearm in McBride's death. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 3 and faces up to life in prison.

The lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court seeks $10 million in damages, according to paperwork filed in court and the attorney representing the family.

McBride was intoxicated and had been involved in a car crash earlier that night when she knocked on Wafer's door on a rainy November morning. Wafer shot the teenager with a 12-gauge shotgun through a locked screen door.

During his testimony, Wafer said he intentionally pulled the trigger when he thought a burglary was in progress. He earlier told police the shooting was an accident.

(Reporting by Aaron Foley; Editing by Brendan O'Brien and Eric Beech)