The second day of testimony in the murder trial of a Dallas police officer charged in the shooting death of her neighbor began Tuesday with jurors hearing the officer’s frantic call to 911 following the shooting.
In the 911 call, Amber Guyger tells a dispatcher that she shot Botham Jean because she thought she was in her own apartment. Prosecutors said Monday that Jean was sitting in his living room, eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream, when Guyger walked into his home and shot him.
The recording of the 911 call was previously obtained by Dallas TV station WFAA. In the call, Guyger says “I thought it was my apartment” nearly 20 times. She also says: “I’m gonna lose my job” and “I am going to need a supervisor.”
On the recording, Guyger also can be heard talking to Jean. “Hey bud. Hey bud. Hey bud. Come on. Oh [expletive]. I thought it was my apartment,” and then later, “Oh my God. I’m done. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. Hey bud.”
Jurors also watched police body camera video that showed officers arriving and giving CPR to Jean after the shooting.
Officer Michael Lee, whose body camera footage was played for jurors, testified Tuesday. He was one of the first officers to respond to Jean’s apartment after the shooting. When the other officers arrived, Guyger showed them into the apartment, again repeating that she had thought it was her apartment, according to the video.
Guyger was fired from the Dallas police force after the Sept. 6, 2018, shooting.
The jury will decide whether Guyger committed murder, a lesser offense such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or no crime at all.
A prosecutor told jurors during opening statements Monday that Guyger was careless and distracted when she entered Jean’s apartment and fatally shot him.
Hermus called Jean “a wonderful, decent, kind man.”
Hermus said that Guyger seemed in good condition before she started a text conversation with her partner and former love interest, Martin Rivera. After a long day supporting SWAT officers with the arrest of a violent group of robbers, Guyger was fine. But after exchanging a series of text messages with her partner, Guyger seemed off kilter, missing a multitude of clues that might have caused her to stop before entering Jean’s apartment, Hermus said.
Instead of shooting when she walked inside, Guyger could have retreated or called for backup, Hermus said.
“The noise from the door must have scared him to death,” Hermus said. “One bullet goes past him. The other goes into his chest, into his heart.”
Hermus said there is no evidence that Jean ever posed a threat to Guyger.
“She, while Bo is bleeding to death, goes into damage control,” Hermus said. “While she’s on the phone with 911, she’s sending text messages to her partner.”
Guyger’s attorney Robert Rogers said during his opening statements that dozens of people living at the Southside Flats apartment complex reported regularly parking on the wrong floor or attempting to enter the wrong apartment.
Guyger’s apartment was directly below Jean’s. Residents at the complex park in the garage on the same floor as their apartment, but that day Guyger parked on the wrong floor.
Rogers said the floors of the parking garage were not clearly marked so it was understandable when Guyger, tired from a long shift, in September 2018 pushed open a door and believed an intruder was inside.
The strikeplate on Jean’s door prevents it from closing correctly, Rogers said. Jean is wondering why this woman is in his apartment and Guyger pulls her gun, thinking she is in danger, Rogers said.
Guyger “was on autopilot,” Rogers said of her entrance to Jean’s apartment. “She had tunnel vision.”
Guyger expects the man to stop but he doesn’t, Rogers said. Rogers said Guyger’s thinking: “My God, there’s a man inside my apartment. I’m holding a gun and he’s yelling at me. He must want to kill me because I caught him breaking into my apartment.”
This story includes information from the Star-Telegram’s archives.