Crime

Witness in Amber Guyger murder trial killed in drug deal, according to Dallas police

A witness in the Amber Guyger murder trial who was fatally shot last week in Dallas was killed during a drug deal, Dallas police said Tuesday.

Two suspects were in custody Wednesday and authorities continued their search for a third.

Capital murder arrest warrants were issued for three suspects, Michael Diaz Mitchell, 32, Thaddeous Charles Green, 22, and Jacquerious Mitchell, 20, in the killing of 28-year-old Joshua Brown on Friday night at his apartment complex, Dallas police said in a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Jacquerious Mitchell was in custody after being wounded in the confrontation with Brown on Friday night, said Dallas Assistant Police Chief Avery Moore.

Michael Mitchell was arrested Tuesday in Marksville, Louisiana, according to local news reports. The Mitchells are related, but Moore did not say what their relationship is.

Authorities had gone to two houses in Louisiana looking for the suspects..

Acting on tips received during the homicide investigation, Moore said, police seized 12 pounds of marijuana, more than 140 THC cartridges and more than $4,000 in cash from Brown’s apartment.

Drug deal led to gunfight, suspect says

Jacquerious Mitchell provided the following details about the shooting to Dallas detectives:

Thaddeous Green contacted Brown about a drug deal and his two companions traveled with him from Alexandria, Louisiana, to meet Brown, police said.

When they arrived at Brown’s apartment complex, Green got out of a car and talked briefly with Brown before there was a fight.

“Jacquerious Mitchell gets out of the vehicle, but Joshua Brown orders him back in the car and shoots him in the chest,” Moore said. “As Jacquerious Mitchell is lying in the vehicle, he hears two gunshots.”

Green is accused of shooting Brown, then taking Brown’s backpack and gun. Green jumped into the car, which was driven by Michael Mitchell, Dallas police said.

Michael Mitchell dropped Green off at an unknown location, then took Jacquerious Mitchell to Promise Hospital of Dallas. Jacquerious Mitchell was later taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Police investigation

On Friday night, Dallas police responded to a call of a shooting victim being treated at Promise Hospital, according to an arrest warrant released Tuesday by Dallas police. That someone was later identified as Jacquerious Mitchell.

Dallas police interviewed Michael Mitchell, who told officers he and Jacquerious Mitchell had been walking near the hospital when they tried to buy some “weed” from an unknown individual and he attempted to rob them. The suspects initially claimed that unknown man shot Jacquerious Mitchell, police say.

But through an anonymous witness, Dallas detectives learned that the three suspects came to Dallas to rob Brown, according to the warrant.

The shooting occurred shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of Brown’s apartment complex on Cedar Springs Road in Dallas.

As they arrived at the scene where Brown was killed, Dallas police were flagged down by witnesses, who directed them to the parking lot at the Atera Apartments.

Brown was found lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body, Dallas police said. He was taken to a Dallas hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Tensions between police, community

Following Brown’s killing, rumors had circulated that Dallas police might have been involved in the homicide because Brown testified against Guyger, who is a former Dallas police officer.

Those rumors are not true, Moore said in the news conference.

“The rumors shared by community leaders that Mr. Brown’s death was related to the Amber Guyger trial and that DPD was responsible are false,” the Dallas Police Department tweeted Tuesday. “We encourage those leaders to be mindful because their words may jeopardize the integrity of the city of Dallas and DPD.”

Lee Merritt, an attorney who represents Joshua Brown’s family, issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of the family in which he encouraged Dallas police to “turn over this murder investigation to an alternate investigative agency.”

“This family and their representatives have consciously avoided speculating about law enforcement involvement in this tragedy, however, due to the proximity of this murder with the trial of Amber Guyger — rumors abound,” Merritt wrote.

“A cloud of suspicion will rest over this case until steps are taken to ensure the trustworthiness of the process,” he said.

The tensions between Dallas police and community activists erupted into shouting and shoving Tuesday at the first meeting of a new Community Police Oversight Committee, the Associated Press reported. The fracas happened when the committee adjourned without taking public comment. Police Chief U. Renee Hall intervened and opened the floor to comment, which ended up being mostly critical of the department and mistrustful of the committee’s intentions.

The police department on Tuesday promised transparency and continued updates on the case.

Moore said Dallas police grieved with the Brown family, saying no family should go through that pain.

“We value human life here,” Moore said.

Guyger trial

Brown was a former neighbor of 26-year-old Botham Jean, the unarmed man who was fatally shot by Guyger in September 2018 in his own Dallas apartment. The former officer was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison last week.

Brown testified in the murder trial on Sept. 24, telling jurors he lived across the hall from Jean.

Brown testified he heard loud voices on the morning of the shooting, Sept. 6, 2018, as though it was “two people meeting each other by surprise,” but he couldn’t understand what they were saying.

Within minutes, Brown said he heard gunshots.

Guyger has said she mistakenly believed Jean was an intruder in her apartment.

Merritt previously said Brown had had reservations about testifying in such a high-profile trial because he had been wounded in a shooting outside of a Dallas strip club last year. Police said Tuesday that investigators had no evidence linking that shooting to Brown’s death, the AP reported.

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