Affidavit Reveals Dallas Officer's Account Of Fatal Shooting; Victim's Attorneys Question It
Update, 7:09 a.m. Tuesday
A white Dallas police officer said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot her black neighbor and went into the hallway to check the address, according to an affidavit released Monday.
Officer Amber Guyger, 30, said that when she inserted her key in Botham Jean’s door Thursday night, it opened because it had been slightly ajar. She said it was dark inside the apartment at South Side Flats in the Cedars when she entered. She thought she was encountering a burglar in her home.
David Armstrong with the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit that Guyger said 26-year-old Jean ignored her “verbal commands” and she fired twice. One struck him in the chest and he later died. The Dallas County Medical Examiner's office on Monday ruled Jean’s death a homicide.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Guyger had just ended a 15-hour shift when she returned to the apartment complex in uniform 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, which appeared to be based solely on Guyger's account, states that she 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 earlier said Guyger's blood was drawn at the scene so that it could be tested for alcohol and drugs.
Attorney calls affidavit 'self-serving'
Lawyers for the Jean family said Monday the affidavit contradicts neighbors' accounts.
Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys for Jean's family, said the affidavit "is very self-serving." And Lee Merritt, who is also representing the family, called it an attempt to "condone what happened, give her a break."
At a news conference Monday evening, Merritt said two independent witnesses have told him they heard knocking on the door in the hallway before the shooting.
He said one witness reported hearing a woman's voice saying, "Let me in! Let me in!" Then they heard gunshots, after which one witness said she heard a man's voice say, "Oh my God! Why did you do that?"
Merritt said he believes those were Jean's last words.
As for the contention that Jean left his front door ajar, Merritt said Jean was a "meticulous individual" who made it "a point to close the door behind him."
"He put everything in a particular place," Merritt said.
He said Jean had a red doormat outside his apartment door. "In fact, to ensure no one mistook his apartment the way this officer is claiming in this case, he went out and bought the biggest, brightest red rug and placed it right there at his doorstep," Merritt said.
'Justice is a relay race'
The Texas Rangers, the state’s top criminal investigative agency, has been investigating the fatal shooting. So has the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Faith Johnson said during a Monday morning press conference her office is committed to “getting to the bottom of everything” and will eventually present evidence to a grand jury. She declined to talk about the details of the case.
“Believe me, we will make sure justice is done,” Johnson said.
Guyger 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.
Allison Jean expressed frustration Monday that investigators still had not given her family an account of what happened to her son.
"I’m not satisfied that we have all the answers," she told reporters. "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.
Rawlings says investigators are promising transparency, and that the missing information will come to light.
"Justice is a relay race, it is not a 40-yard dash,” he said. “And we have some great baton passes that have taken place in the last few days.”
Rawlings 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. On Saturday, she said the Texas Rangers told her to hold off because they had learned new information and wanted to investigate further before issuing a warrant.
More about Guyger
Guyger has been with the Dallas Police Department for four years assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. She was publicly identified by police Saturday night. 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.
More about Jean
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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