Dallas District Attorney says grand jury will decide if the shooting of Botham Jean is manslaughter or murder
An arrest affidavit released Monday afternoon gives additional details of what happened the night a Dallas police officer shot and killed a 26-year-old man inside his apartment.
Amber Guyger, 30, is charged with manslaughter in the death of Botham Shem Jean on Thursday night. She claimed she mistook Jean’s apartment for hers and opened fire, believing Jean was an intruder.
According to the affidavit, Guyger was on the wrong floor and didn’t check that the apartment was hers until after she shot Jean.
Guyger’s apartment is directly below Jean’s, the document says.
When Guyger got off of her shift at around 10 p.m., the affidavit says she parked on the fourth floor of the parking garage.
Jean was home alone when Guyger approached his door.
“She inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door key hole,” the affidavit says. “The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger’s arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion.”
Once the door opened, Guyger saw Jean across the room. She described him as looking like a large silhouette because it was dark inside. She said she believed he was an intruder.
“Guyger drew her firearm, gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean,” the affidavit says. “As a result, Guyger fired her handgun two times striking (Jean) one time in the torso.”
Guyger then went into Jean’s apartment and called 911. She turned on the lights and when dispatchers asked where she was, Guyger returned to the front door and discovered she was at the wrong apartment, the document says.
Attorney: Witnesses contradict affidavit
But Lee Merritt, the Jeans’ family attorney, at a news conference Monday evening scoffed at the narrative provided in the affidavit.
“They’re trying to put this out to get sympathy from the public,” hesaid.
Merritt said that two witnesses, who are sisters and residents of the apartment complex, gave statements that contradict the 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.”
The witness went to her sister’s apartment to see what was going on and found her sister outside investigating the gunshots, Merritt said. The witness grabbed her sister and urged her not to continue investigating.
“The sister says, ‘No. It’s OK, I see a law enforcement officer,’ thinking this was probably a controlled situation,” Merritt said.
He said one of the witnesses said she heard what were likely Jean’s final words after the gunshots. “Which was, ‘Oh my God, why did you do that?’ and there was nothing heard after,” Merritt said.
Merritt added that all indicators should have made it clear to Guyger that it was not her apartment.
“Not only at the front of his door (the red rug outside) but all around his apartment. This is his apartment, this wasn’t her apartment,” Merritt said. “There wouldn’t be the same smell. There wouldn’t be the same furniture. There wouldn’t be the same lighting patterns. There would’ve been a number of identifying markers to alert her including the absence of her dog.”
Guyger was arrested on Sunday evening and released from jail after posting a $300,000 bond.
District Attorney Faith Johnson said the investigation into what happened that night is ongoing. The case eventually will be presented to a grand jury, which will then decide whether or not to charge Guyger with manslaughter, murder or some other charge, Johnson said.
“Trust me, we will present to the grand jury everything that we can possibly present to them,” Johnson said at a news conference Monday morning.
A blood sample was taken from Guyger after the shooting by Dallas police investigators, but it could take months before the results of the toxicology report are returned, Merritt said.
“However, the information we’ve received at this time seem to indicate that she was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol,” Merritt said. “Therefore if she’s sober going to that door and missing all of those multitude of markers including the fact that she was on the wrong floor and entering an apartment that was not hers, then it’s difficult to buy that narrative.”
Star-Telegram reporter Prescotte Stokes III contributed to this report.