Botham Shem Jean, an African-American businessman and a well-loved person, was shot and killed by a white police officer who intruded into his apartment after she reportedly mistook it for her own. That police officer, identified as Amber Guyger, has been charged with manslaughter.
The incident happened Thursday last week in at the South Side Flats in Dallas, where both Jean and Guyger lived.
According to reports, Guyger returned to the apartment in full uniform after working a 15-hour shift, parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage, and was one floor up from her actual floor when she encountered Jean inside his own apartment that she mistook for her own.
A written statement from the police department said the officer was “tired” but it wasn’t confirmed if the officer being tired is the reason she entered the wrong apartment.
Dallas Police Chief Ulysha Renee Hall said in a press conference that “it’s not clear what interaction was between them, but at some point, she fired her weapon, striking the victim.”
Jean was taken to the hospital by the officers who responded to Guyger’s 911 call. He later died at the hospital.
Amber Guyger, a 30-year old four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was arrested on Sunday evening and is being accused of manslaughter. She was released from the Kaufman County Jail after posting a $300,000 bond.
Guyger was also involved in a previous shooting in 2017 while she was on duty. According to reports, she shot 47-year-old Uvaldo Perez after he took her Taser. Perez was shot in the abdomen but he lived.
The investigation on the recent shooting is still ongoing and has been handed over to the Texas Rangers to “eliminate the appearance of any potential bias,” the police department said in a statement. Hall added that Guyger will be tested for drugs and alcohol.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings thanked Texas Rangers and Police Chief Hall for their diligence. He also said, “Please continue to pray for the family of Botham Jean tonight and in the weeks and months ahead.”
Meanwhile, Ben Crump and S. Lee Merritt law firm announced that they will be representing Jean’s family.
“Our first and foremost priority will be to ensure justice is served for this family. That includes holding Amber Guyger accountable for her crimes as well as ID’ing all responsible for this incident,” Merritt wrote on Twitter.
Merritt said they will present a witness and a video evidence, which he did not elaborate besides noting that it did not capture the shooting. He also said Jean and Guyger did not have any known relationship prior to the shooting, as opposed to what many had speculated on social media.
“We’re still dealing in America with black people being killed in some of the most arbitrary ways, driving while black, walking while black and now we have to add living while black,” co-counsel Benjamin Crump said.
Jean is a 26-year-old “aspiring young professional,” as he described himself in his LinkedIn account. He worked as a risk assurance experience associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas.
Everybody who knew Jean don’t have anything bad to say about him. A GoFundMe page arranged for his family to cover funeral arrangements reads, “He was a great Christian example and an inspiration to us all.” So far, it has exceeded more than half of the $15,000 goal.
His friends and family gathered at a vigil last Saturday and remembered him as a loving son, brother, and friend.
“Botham loved mankind,” Jean’s mother, Allison Jean said to those gathered. “Botham never saw color, never saw race. Botham wanted all of us to unite.”