Dallas officer who fatally shot a man will be charged with manslaughter, police say
Mayor Mike Rawlings said Saturday that he’s sure justice will be served for Botham Shem Jean.
Jean, 26, was killed in his own apartment on Thursday night by an off-duty, uniformed Dallas Police officer who said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own when she got off work at about 10 p.m.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said yesterday “at my request, we are in the process of obtaining a warrant based on the circumstances we have now.” She later added the warrant would be for manslaughter.
Though Rawlings said that justice will be served, he didn’t say if the warrant has already been issued.
“The Texas Rangers are now in charge (of the investigation),” he said. “This is not the Dallas Police Department. … Chief Hall is not calling the shots.”
Later Saturday, Hall said the Texas Rangers have asked that they “hold off on the warrant until they have an opportunity to investigate” some of the information that was provided to them during an interview with the officer who shot Jean. Hall didn’t elaborate.
“The ball is in their court to investigate, deliberate and come back with a decision,” she said.
In a tweet on Saturday night, the Dallas Police Department identified the officer as Amber Guyger. The officer was identified first by Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys hired to represent the Jean family.
Guyger’s name had also been circulating throughout social media since at least Friday
Both Rawlings and state Sen. Royce West asked for Dallas residents to be patient as they work to figure out what exactly happened Thursday night.
“Is this a white on back crime? Yes,” West said. “It was a white, female Dallas police officer who shot and killed a person from St. Lucia of African descent. Is this a race-related crime? Don’t know. I would hold any type of decision you make on what happened until all of the facts come in.”
Several questions still remain — such as how the officer got into the apartment, why she thought it was hers, and if she and Jean knew each other.
“For some strange reason, the door was open and she was able to gain entry into the apartment. We need to find out whether there was a personal relationship,” West said. “There are so many facts that need to be looked at before determining what kind of homicide this is.”
Rawlings said Jean’s death is a very serious issue for the city.
“Botham Jean was exactly the sort of citizen we want to have in the City of Dallas,” he said. “A professional ... a believer in his church, a neighbor to his friends. A man that always had a smile on his face. And for that reason, this is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened. Not only has he lost his life, but we’ve lost a potential leader for this city.”
The mayor said he’s met with Jean’s mother and sister. Jean’s father will be arriving in Dallas in the coming days. Rawlings has also spoken with the prime minister of Saint Lucia, where Jean is from.
“I offered my apologizes on the behalf of the City of Dallas,” Rawlings said.
Hall has previously said that a blood test was ordered to check if there were drugs or alcohol in the officer’s system.
The police chief also said the officer won’t be officially identified until charges are filed, which she said is the same process for citizens accused of a crime.
According to the Dallas Police Department’s blog, Guyger has been involved in a shooting before. In 2017, she shot Uvaldo Perez, 47.
Officers from the Crime Response Team, including Guyger, went to the 8300 block of Reva Street after receiving information from undercover officers that a wanted woman as at the location. The woman was in a car with Perez and when police arrived, Perez fot out of the car and confronted the officers, police said.
Perez grabbed one of the officer’s Tasers and was shot and wounded by Guyger. He was eventually charged.