Details of shooting released

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — Immediately after Theodore Paul Wafer was arraigned on three counts in connection with the shooting death of a Detroit woman on his front porch the Police Department released a redacted version of the police report filed for the incident.

Wafer, 54, is being charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and felony firearm for the shooting and killing Renisha McBride, 19, with a shotgun at his house in the 16000 block of Outer Drive on Nov. 2.

A 911 call was placed by Wafer at 4:42 a.m. that alerted authorities to the incident.

“I just shot somebody on my front porch with a shotgun, banging on my door,” Wafer said.

According to the police report, officers responded to the scene and observed the body of a female lying face up on the front porch of the house with an apparent gunshot wound to the face.

As the officers approached, Wafer walked out of the side door of the house “with his hands out to his sides” and was patted down for weapons and questioned.

When asked where the gun was, Wafer stated that it on the floor just inside the front door.

Officers placed Wafer in the backseat of a patrol vehicle and asked for his consent to search the house, which he gave.

Inside the house, officers found a 12-gauge shotgun lying on the floor next to the front door with a spent casing still in the chamber. A case for the weapon was found on the floor inside a bedroom.

Officers also noted that the front screen door was still locked and that it appeared that the shotgun had been discharged through the screen at the victim.

The door also showed no obvious signs of tampering, though the wooden steps leading to the door were partially collapsed.

Wafer was taken to the DHPD for questioning with detectives.

During the investigation, officers discovered that McBride approached the house after being involved in an early morning traffic accident that occurred about six blocks away in Detroit.

Family members of McBride have stated that they believe that she had gone to the house seeking help after the accident because her cell phone battery was dead.

The accident occurred in the 7200 block of Bramell in Detroit at 12:57 a.m., when McBride struck a parked vehicle in her 2004 Ford Taurus.

The reports of two witnesses were also included in the police report.

One witness interviewed near the scene of the accident stated that they had heard a loud crash and when investigating it discovered McBride exiting her vehicle alone.

The witness added the airbags in the vehicle had deployed and that McBride
walked away from the scene, then returned, tried to start the vehicle and after it failed to start walked south on Bramell before rounding the corner onto Warren Avenue.

Another witness who lived near the accident scene was interviewed by police and said she was seated in her parked car in the street when McBride drove past at “a high rate of speed” in her Taurus and struck the parked car of a neighbor.

The witness reported that she tried to help after the accident but McBride walked away from the scene. The witness also observed a cut on McBride’s left hand.

What occurred during the time between the automobile accident and the shooting has not been released by police.

An autopsy report released by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that McBride was killed by a shotgun wound to the face that was not delivered at a close range.

In that report, Assistant Medical Examiner Kilak Kesha ruled McBride’s death a homicide.

A toxicology report, also completed by the Medical Examiner’s Office and released two weeks ago, concluded that McBride’s blood alcohol content was 0.218, which is nearly three times the legal limit for driving of 0.08 in Michigan.

It also concluded that there were traces of marijuana in her system.

Wafer was arraigned Nov. 15 before 20th District Court Judge Mark Plawecki, just hours after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced the charges during a press conference outside her office in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.

Wafer appeared in court under his own recognizance and was given a $250,000, 10 percent bond.

A preliminary examination of the evidence against him is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 18 before Plawecki.

The second degree murder charge carries a penalty of any term of years up to life in prison, the manslaughter carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and the felony firearm charge carries a penalty of two years mandatory consecutive.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)