Family seeks answers in fatal hug

In this photo made with a cell phone camera, Eddie Miller, left, looks at Yolanda McNair as she holds a picture of their daughter, Adaisha Miller, in Detroit, Monday, July 9, 2012. The contact that came when Adaisha Miller hugged an off-duty Detroit police officer from behind caused his gun to go off, fatally shooting her in the chest, the police chief said Monday. Miller was celebrating what would have been her 25th birthday Monday. Chief Ralph Godbee called her death a tragic, "unfathomable" accident. "We are profoundly sad at their loss," he said, referring to Miller's family. Godbee said the gun was in a waist holster made of soft material, which would have allowed the trigger to be activated. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

DETROIT — Police say the position of Adaisha Miller’s body — she was on her knees as she danced at a party on Detroit’s west side Sunday — explains how she was shot in the chest when an off-duty Detroit police officer’s gun went off.

But the young woman’s mother said that account is fishy and differs from what she initially heard from witnesses at the hospital.

Miller was dancing behind Officer Isaac Parrish at his home in Archdale and was on her knees and tugging at Parrish’s waist when his holstered gun fired, striking her in the chest, a police official familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

The official said the angle of the gunshot is possible because Miller was not standing and described it as some type of “exotic dance.”

Wayne County Medical Examiner Carl Schmidt said his office can’t tell the position Miller was in when she was shot but said the police version could have happened. Schmidt said the gun’s muzzle was pointed downward in such a way that the bullet went into Miller’s chest and came out of her back at a lower point.

“The angle was slightly downward,” he said of the findings of an autopsy conducted Monday.

Miller’s family members said they are hearing different accounts of what happened during the fish fry.

Yolanda McNair, Miller’s mother, said she was told by witnesses Sunday that her daughter and Parrish were side by side and her daughter put her arm around Parrish as she got a birthday hug from him when the gun went off. “We can’t get her back,” she said. “We deserve the truth.”

Miller, who would have been 25 on Monday, didn’t know Parrish and was being introduced to people at the party as she celebrated her birthday with two friends, relatives said. The Free Press has been unable to reach her friends.

McNair questioned why Miller would be on her knees dancing with a stranger and asked how someone dances on their knees. “I’m not going to say how she got shot because we don’t know,” said Eddie Miller, Adaisha Miller’s father. “We’re trying to get some answers. That’s all were trying to do.”

McNair said she hasn’t heard from police since they told her on Sunday that they were investigating her daughter’s death. She said it wasn’t an accident Parrish had a loaded gun at his party, and she thinks he should serve jail time.

Parrish has been placed on administrative restricted duty. Police said preliminary findings show the shooting appears to be an accident, and Parrish did not touch his gun, which was in a soft holster on the right side of his waist. The official said police did not give Parrish a Breathalyzer, but alcohol does not appear to be a factor. The source added there was no odor of intoxicants and the officer’s speech was not slurred.