Dallas police officer arrested in shooting death of man in wrong apartment
DALLAS, Texas — A Dallas police officer was arrested Sunday in connection with the shooting death of a man after entering the wrong apartment, the Texas Rangers said.
Police identified the officer as Amber Guyger, a four-year veteran of the department assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division.
Guyger, who is white, was off-duty when she shot Botham Shem Jean, a black man, after mistakenly entering his apartment at the complex where she also lived, police said Thursday.
Jean, 26, a native of St. Lucia who worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, died at a hospital.
Guyger, 30, of Dallas, was booked in the Kaufman County Jail after a warrant was issued for her arrest on manslaughter charges. She was released from the Kaufman County Jail on Sunday evening after posting a $300,000 bond. It wasn’t immediately clear if Guyger had an attorney.
Guyger’s arrest was announced as Jean’s family and their attorneys say they met with prosecutors to demand the officer’s arrest.
“We don’t need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt at this point,” the family’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, told reporters Sunday. “At this point, we need probable cause of a crime. And the existence of probable cause is painstakingly clear to everyone.”
Merritt said attorneys presented prosecutors with a witness and video evidence but declined to elaborate.
“The prevailing narrative is challenged by the evidence that was presented today,” Merritt said.
“We’re still dealing in America with black people being killed in the most arbitrary ways, driving while black, walking while black, and now we have to add living while black,” co-counsel Benjamin Crump said.
Guyger was involved in another shooting incident in May 2017, when a suspect took her taser, according to a Dallas Police Department news release.
In a statement Saturday, the police department said the Texas Rangers took over the investigation to “eliminate the appearance of any potential bias.”
The shooting took place Thursday night at the South Side Flats.
“On behalf of the Dallas Police Department, we are continuing to pray for Mr. Jean’s family, and ask that the community remain patient as this investigation is conducted,” Dallas Police Chief Ulysha Renee Hall said in a statement.
Botham Jean remembered for love of singing, ministry
“A female Dallas police officer returned to what she believed to be her apartment after her shift ended — she was still in uniform when she encountered Mr. Jean inside the apartment,” Hall said Thursday.
The police chief said it isn’t clear what “the interaction was between her and the victim. Then at some point she fired her weapon striking the victim.”
The officer called 911 and officers “responded in about four minutes,” Hall said.
“Right now, there are more questions than answers,” Hall said. Her initial remarks at a news conference were also posted on the Dallas police blog.
Neighbor heard shot
Alyssa Kinsey, Jean’s next-door neighbor, told CNN she was home on the phone Thursday night when she heard a shot. She said she then heard what sounded like “running steps” and a female voice calling the police.
Kinsey said she could see from her patio that the lights were turned on in Jean’s apartment. She said she heard more footsteps outside her apartment, a woman’s voice and a commotion.
The apartment doors at the complex are all similar, Kinsey said, but Jean’s doorstep had a bright red mat.
She said she met Jean when she first moved into the South Side Flats in April.
“He was great, as a neighbor — quiet, friendly, super chill,” Kinsey said. “Never had parties. We would chat about life, smiling and laughing. He had a huge smile.”
Victim’s funeral Thursday
Hall said police aren’t handling the case under the department’s usual officer-involved shooting protocol.
“At the very early stages of this investigation — initial indications were that they were what we consider circumstances of an officer-involved shooting,” Hall said. “However, as we continued this investigation it became clear that we were dealing with what appears to be a much different and very unique situation.”
“A blood sample was drawn to test for drugs and alcohol, we are in the process of obtaining a warrant, and we have also invited the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent investigation,” she said, referring to the state law enforcement agency.
In the May 2017 incident, Guyger was trying to identify a woman in a car when another passenger got out and took her taser, police said in the release. Guyger shot and injured the suspect, who was later charged with taking a weapon from an officer, possession of meth and marijuana, and parole violation.
Jean was listed on LinkedIn as a risk assurance experienced associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Harding University in Arkansas.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” Jean’s employer said. “We are simply heartbroken to hear of his death.”
Jean described himself on LinkedIn as a “young professional, engaged in developing a career built upon integrity, dedication and relationships, leveraging useful technologies to gain an understanding of and add value in a range (of) industries, striving towards leadership in my career, my community and society.”
Funeral services for Jean are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Dallas West Church of Christ, which Jean attended. Plans for the funeral were announced at a prayer vigil Saturday.
The family has retained the services of civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Dallas lawyer Lee Merritt.