More than 1,500 people gathered Thursday morning to remember Botham Shem Jean, the man shot and killed by off-duty Dallas police officer Amber Guyger on Sept. 6.
Jean, who was 26, was remembered as vibrant, full of life and a child of God by Greenville Avenue Church of Christ minister Michael Griffin, who also had a subtle warning for those attending the emotionally charged event.
“Today we are here to celebrate the life of Botham Jean,” he said. “We’re not here for any other reason but to celebrate his life,” he added, raising his voice.
Ignatius Jean, a relative of Botham, said that the news shook their homeland, the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.
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“A nuke has hit our island,” he said.
But Ignatius Jean also remembered a vibrant boy who once was caught making an omelet at the age of five, explaining that he didn’t want to wake his mother.
People filed past Jean’s casket at the church in Richardson for nearly two hours before Griffin led the congregation in singing “Our God, He Is Alive.”
Like in many Churches of Christ, the song was sung a capella.
Sections of the church were reserved for representatives of Harding University, where Jean studied business; of PriceWaterhouseCooper, where Jean worked; and several dozen members of the Jean family, along with at least 30 ministers from various Churches of Christ, in which Jean was active.
“Botham loved God,” Griffin said. “He loved to sing about God.”
Addressing the racial tension surrounding Jean’s shooting death, Griffin added, “Bo didn’t see color. Bo saw love.”
Dallas police officer Amber Guyger said she thought she was entering her own apartment, which is on the floor below Jean’s. She said she saw a silhouette and fired, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
She has been charged with manslaughter. The Texas Rangers are investigating.
She has said that the door to the apartment at the South Side Flats was ajar and, thinking she had encountered an intruder, fired before she realized that the apartment wasn’t hers.
Jean is from Saint Lucia, a Caribbean Island, and was active in the Church of Christ. He often led the singing. He will be buried in Saint Lucia.
He was a risk assurance associate for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, according to his LinkedIn account.