Dallas Police Investigate Fatal Shooting Of Witness In Amber Guyger Murder Trial
A man who was fatally shot has been identified as a key witness in the murder trial of a white Dallas police officer who killed her black neighbor, Dallas police said Sunday.
Joshua Xavier Brown, 28, was found Friday night in the parking lot of an apartment complex with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said. Brown was taken to Parkland Hospital, where he died.
Brown lived in the same apartment complex as Amber Guyger and Botham Jean and testified at Guyger's trial, where she was convicted of murder on Tuesday. The Jean family attorney, Lee Merritt, posted a statement on Twitter that said he had spoken with Brown's mother and "she is devastated."
"We need answers," Merritt wrote.
Homicide detectives are seeking the public's help in identifying suspects and a motive in Brown's death. Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall says there were no suspects or motives as of Sunday evening.
“We are committed to solving this case and will work diligently to apprehend the individuals responsible for Brown’s death,” Hall said in a statement.
Brown was a key witness in the trial of Guyger, who was charged in Jean's slaying in September 2018. According to her trial testimony, she mistook Jean's apartment for her own one floor below and shot him after pushing open his unlocked door and thinking he was a burglar.
Brown said he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived. He said he heard what sounded like "two people meeting by surprise" and then two gunshots.
At times during his testimony, Brown became emotional and used his T-shirt and tissue to wipe his tears. He said he had met Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, for the first time earlier that day.
Guyger, 31, was fired from the department soon after the shooting. She was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison.
The shooting that killed Brown happened at a different apartment complex, according to a Dallas police news release. Police responded to the shooting shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday at the Atera apartments on Cedar Springs Road. That statement said several witnesses flagged down officers who were responding to a call about the shooting. The witnesses directed police to the parking lot where a man was lying on the ground.
Witnesses described hearing several gunshots, according to the news release, and saw a silver four-door sedan speeding off from the parking lot. No one else was shot.
Merritt said Brown "deserves the justice he sought to ensure the Jean family."
“Brown’s testimony stood out as a fact witness who was approaching his apartment directly across from Botham Jean’s apartment when shots rang out,” Merritt said in a statement. “Brown was still visibly shaken up from the incident when he took the stand to testify on behalf of the prosecution. His murder underscores the reality of the black experience in America. A former athlete turned entrepreneur -- Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise."
Kimberly Leach, director of communications for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, did not immediately reply to telephone and email requests Sunday from The Associated Press seeking comment about the case.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says he trusts the Dallas Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation into Brown’s death. The mayor’s encouraging that people refrain from speculating on his death.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says the county, the city and others “will work to ensure a transparent and thorough investigation” into Brown’s death.
Joshua Brown was shot in his mouth & chest. He was exiting his car at his apt when he was ambushed & shot at close range. His mother asked my office to help find out who murdered her son. She suspects foul play. He had no known enemies. He worked for a living. We need answers. pic.twitter.com/k0KizSLMHi— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 5, 2019
I trust the Dallas Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation into the death of Joshua Brown. Until we know more about this incident, I encourage everyone to refrain from speculation. (1/2)— Office of Mayor Eric Johnson (@DallasMayor) October 6, 2019
Dallas County, the City of Dallas and others will work to ensure a transparent and thorough investigation of the murder of Joshua Brown. Mr. Brown was not shot in the mouth or head but was shot more than one time. Many career professionals are hard at work on this case.— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) October 6, 2019