An arrest affidavit for the off-duty Dallas police officer accused of killing Botham Jean contradicts a search warrant for his apartment. But police say evidence found at the scene confirms that Jean was across the room when he was shot.
Amber Guyger, 30, is charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Jean, 26, on Sept. 6. She told police she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own and opened fire because she believed Jean was an intruder.
An arrest affidavit released Monday says Guyger’s apartment is directly below Jean’s at the South Side Flats, 1210 South Lamar.
The affidavit, written by Officer David L. Armstong of the Texas Rangers, is based on what Guyger told the officer happened. It says she “inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door key hole. The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger’s arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion.”
It then says that the door being opened alerted Jean to Guyger’s presence. It says Guyger described the apartment as being dark and she thought “she had encountered a burglar, which was described as a large silhouette, across the room in her apartment.”
Guyger drew her firearm, “gave verbal commands that were ignored by (Jean),” and then she fired two shots. Jean was shot once and died.
However, a search warrant written on Sept. 7 and signed by Judge Brandon Birmingham tells a different story. An officer within the police department told the Dallas Morning News that the search warrant was written before Guyger was interviewed.
“An off-duty Dallas Police Officer, who was wearing a full Dallas Police uniform, was attempting to enter apartment number 1478, with a set of keys,” it says. “An unknown male, inside the apartment, confronted the officer at the door. A neighbor stated he heard an exchange of words, immediately followed by at least two gunshots.”
While the arrest warrant describes Jean as being “across the room,” the search warrant says he confronted Guyger at his door.
The Morning News reported that evidence found at the crime scene supports Guyger’s account that Jean was across the room when he was shot.
The warrant was for the collection of evidence, including shell casings, bullets, firearms, ballistic vest, keys, possible video, any narcotics and and other trace evidence such as blood.
The warrant doesn’t say if investigators were looking for narcotics that Guyger possibly had, or if they believed they were in Jean’s apartment. Guyger’s blood was drawn to test for drugs and alcohol, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall has said.
The arrest warrant also doesn’t include witness statements — which Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family — pointed out on Monday.
Merritt said that two witnesses, who are sisters and residents of the apartment complex, gave statements that contradict the arrest affidavit.
“One happened to be in a quiet room reading a book so she was in the best position to hear things,” Merritt said. “She heard pounding at the door. The other one (witness) was in the living room (of her own apartment) watching TV. She also heard the same pounding at the door.”
He said the key witness, who was reading the book, heard shouting.
“She heard, ‘Let me in!’ followed by ‘Let me in!’ in an elevated tone and then she heard more pounding at the door,” Merritt said. “Then shortly thereafter she heard gunshots.”
Guyger was arrested for manslaughter on Sunday evening and released about an hour later on a $300,000 bond.
Jean, who is from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, is a graduate of Harding University and worked at PwC in Dallas.