‘What Happened?’ Family Of Botham Jean Seeks Answers Days After Dallas Officer Kills Him In His Home | KERA News

‘What Happened?’ Family Of Botham Jean Seeks Answers Days After Dallas Officer Kills Him In His Home

2 hours ago

This story is developing. Updated, 4:08 p.m.

The Dallas County district attorney said her office is committed to “getting to the bottom of everything” after a white Dallas police officer fatally shot a black man in his apartment.

In a press conference Monday morning, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson declined to talk about the details — many of which remain unclear — of last week’s shooting. But she said her office is now investigating the case and will eventually present evidence to a grand jury.

“Believe me, we will make sure justice is done in this case,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the Dallas County medical examiner's office said Monday that 26-year-old Botham Jean died of a gunshot wound to the chest and ruled his death a homicide.

Officer Amber Guyger, 30, was charged with manslaughter Sunday — three days after the fatal shooting. A grand jury could decide that a stronger charge than manslaughter is warranted, Johnson said.

Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail with bail set at $300,000. She was released on bond shortly after. 

According to police, Guyger returned home in her uniform Thursday night after her shift. She called dispatch just before 10 p.m. to report that she had shot Jean, and she later told the officers who responded that she believed his apartment at South Side Flats was her own when she entered it. 

Allison Jean said Monday after the press conference that investigators still have not given her family an account of what happened to her son.

"I’m not satisfied that we have all the answers," she said. "And the No. 1 answer I want is: What happened?

"I have asked too many questions, and I’ve been told that there are no answers yet," Jean continued.

New details emerge 

In addition to the Dallas County district attorney’s office, the Texas Rangers — the top criminal investigative agency in the state — are conducting an ongoing investigation of the shooting.

In an affidavit released Monday, David Armstrong with the Texas Rangers wrote that Guyger said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot Jean and went into the hallway to check the address.

Guyger said that when she inserted her key in his door, it opened because it had been slightly ajar. She said it was nearly completely dark inside the apartment when she entered it and she thought she was encountering a burglar in her home.

Guyger said Jean ignored her “verbal commands” and she fired twice. One struck him in the chest and he later died.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Guyger had just ended a 15-hour shift when she returned to the complex and parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also said Monday that Guyger had parked on the wrong floor.

The affidavit says Guyger was on the phone with 911 reporting the shooting when she turned on the apartment lights and discovered she was in the wrong apartment. It says Jean's apartment was the one right above Guyger's and the apartment layouts and exterior hallways were nearly identical.

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall on Friday said Guyger's blood was drawn at the scene so that it could be tested for alcohol and drugs. Investigators haven't released the results of those tests.

'Justice is a relay race'

In the Monday morning press conference, Rawlings said they’re promising transparency, and the missing information will come to light.

"Justice is a relay race, it is not a 40-yard dash. And we have some great baton passes that have taken place in the last few days,” he said.

He commended the police chief for inviting the Texas Rangers to investigate and said the district attorney's office will now do its job.

“Let us make sure we care about justice and we do the right thing in this time that we’re getting through,” Rawlings said. “We’ll get all of the facts.”

Hall initially said the police department was seeking manslaughter charges against Guyger. But on Saturday, she said the Texas Rangers told her to wait because they had learned new information and wanted to investigate further before issuing a warrant.

Background on Guyger, Jean

Guyger's been with the Dallas Police Department for four years assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. She was publicly identified by police Saturday night.

Jean, a native of the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, attended Harding University in Arkansas and, after graduating in 2016, he had been living and working in Dallas at accounting and consulting firm PwC. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Jean wasn't the first person shot by Guyger. She shot another man, Uvaldo Perez, in May 2017, while she was on duty. She was not charged.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.