Family of Dallas Man Killed by Cop Says Officer's Story Doesn't Add Up

Attorneys for the family say witnesses contradict some details of the officer's account.


Facebook/Kaufman County Jail

The family of Botham Jean, who was shot to death by an off-duty Dallas police officer on Thursday, is questioning the officer's account of what happened the night of the fatal shooting.

Amber Guyger told responding officers she had just returned to her apartment complex following her shift with the Dallas Police Department. Guyger said "she entered the victim's apartment believing that it was her own," according to a statement put out by police hours after the shooting.

An arrest affidavit for Guyger, who's been charged with manslaughter, lays out in more detail her account of how the situation escalated. According to the affidavit, Guyger lives on the third floor of the complex in apartment #1378, while Jean lived directly above her in apartment #1478. She parked on the fourth floor, then attempted to enter Jean's apartment using her "unique door key," the affidavit says. Since the door was already ajar, it "fully opened under the force of the key insertion."

At that point, the affidavit says Guyger encountered Jean, who she believed to be a burglar. After giving "verbal commands" that Jean ignored, Guyger shot him twice, according to the warrant. It wasn't until after the shooting that Guyger realized she was in the wrong apartment, the affidavit says.

But Jean's family thinks there are holes in that story. For one thing, attorneys for the family said at a press conference yesterday that Jean wasn't the type of person to leave his front door ajar, the Dallas Morning News reports.

One lawyer, Lee Merritt, isn't so sure Guyger thought Jean's apartment was her own when she shot him. "There are witnesses who said that before the gunshots they heard the officer knocking at the door and repeatedly saying, 'Let me in,'" Merritt tells The Washington Post. After the shots were fired, one witness reported that Jean said: "Oh my God, why did you do that," Merritt added at the press conference. The attorney said he believes those were Jean's last words.

The shooting is currently being investigated by the Texas Rangers state police force. Authorities conducted a blood test on Guyger, but have yet to reveal the results. Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police department who has been placed on paid administrative leave, was arrested Sunday but later set free on $300,000 bail. She could face additional charges—including murder—depending on what a grand jury decides after hearing the case.

For now, Jean's mother just wants to know why her son was killed. "The number one answer that I want is, 'What happened?'" Allison Jean told reporters yesterday. "I have asked too many questions, and I've been told that there are no answers yet. I'm looking forward to the powers that be to come up with the answers to make me more satisfied that they are doing what is in the best interest of getting justice for Botham."