A Dallas police officer may face more serious charges from the grand jury in connection with the fatal shooting of her neighbor in his own apartment. 30-year-old Officer Amber Guyger has been charged with manslaughter after killing 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean while off-duty last week.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Guyger parked her car on the wrong floor of her apartment building's parking garage and walked to what she believed was her own apartment. She inserted her key into the door, which she claims was ajar. Inside, she saw a "large silhouette" that she believed was a burglar. Guyger claims she gave "verbal commands" before firing her gun twice, hitting Jean once in the chest. Jean was taken to Baylor Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family, disputes Guyger's account of the events. Merritt claims witnesses told the district attorney's office that they heard banging on a door and a woman's voice saying, "Let me in" before the shooting occurred. Merritt has also pointed out that Guyger's own apartment has a distinctive red doormat outside.
The Dallas Police Department has asked the Texas Rangers, another state law enforcement agency, to investigate the shooting. The district attorney's office has expressed displeasure with the way the Texas Rangers are handling the invesigation and believe they coordinated the booking of Officer Guyger and recommended the lesser charge of manslaughter. Questions arose when Guyger was allowed to leave the scene of the crime and turn herself in to Kaufman County authorities later.
Further questions of police brutality have also arisen out of this shooting of a young, black man by a white police officer. At this time, authorities do not know whether race played a role in the shooting. A blood sample was taken to test Guyger for drugs and alcohol but the results have not been released.
According to family members, Jean was a beloved member of a local church congregation who loved to sing. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has said Jean was a model citizen. Jean moved from his home country of St. Lucia to attend Harding University in Arkansas, where he graduated with a degree in accounting and information management systems. At the time of his death, he worked at prestigious accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas.
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