“The story keeps changing,” McNair said. “There’s no logical reason.”
Miller, who would have turned 25 today, was fatally shot early Sunday morning while attending a party on Archdale in Detroit. Police reports say she was killed when an off-duty Detroit police officer’s pistol fired as she embraced him.
“Instead of giving her a party this week, I’m planning her obituary and funeral,” said McNair as she sat on her west-side Detroit front porch Sunday evening with solemn relatives, neighbors and friends.
The police news release called the 12:30 a.m. shooting “a tragic incident,” but McNair said she cannot understand how it occurred.
Police said that Miller hugged the officer — whose name has not been released — from behind as he was dancing, and the gun discharged.
However, McNair said she also was told her daughter “was being a little flirty” with the officer and the gun fired as they were in a face-to-face hug.
If you’re at a party, she asked, “why do you need a weapon with a round in the chamber?”
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said officers have the option of carrying a gun off-duty but there is no requirement for them to be armed.
A departmental investigation is being conducted by internal affairs, and the officer will be assigned to administrative duties during the probe, Stephens said.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will conduct a separate, independent review of the shooting, said office spokeswoman Maria Miller. Such reviews are standard for shootings involving police officers.
McNair endorsed a second investigation: “Yes, take it to the full extent.”
Miller’s younger brother Shane Miller, 23, said he also wants answers from the officer: “My sister is dead and you’re alive walking around — like you didn’t even know what happened?”
John Goldpaugh, a lawyer for the Detroit Police Officers Association, said, “This was just a freak accident.
“They were having a party and the next thing, a woman is dead. He’s devastated by what happened.”
Goldpaugh, who spent several hours with the officer after the shooting, said the veteran beat patrolman was hosting a party at his home and was dancing with his wife when Miller came up behind him and tugged at his waist.
“And the gun went off,” Goldpaugh said. “It’s a fluke accidental shooting.”
The weapon, a department-issued, 40-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol, was in a holster worn inside the officer’s waistband and was covered by his shirt, Goldpaugh said.
Goldpaugh said the physical evidence from the incident corroborated the officer’s account of the shooting. The officer did not know the woman, who attended the party with other guests, Goldpaugh said.
Miller was a certified massage therapist, her mother said, and a young woman with “a gentle heart who was giving to anybody.”
McNair said she waved good-bye to her daughter Saturday evening as she left for the party.
“Then I saw her at the morgue,” McNair said.
Miller must have been thinking of her grandmother who died in 2010, McNair said.