The Dallas police officer who has been charged in connection with the shooting death of a 26-year-old said she thought the man was a burglar when she saw him inside what she thought was her apartment, USA Today is reporting.
Amber Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police force, arrived at her apartment complex at about 10 p.m. Thursday after working a 15-hour shift, and put her key in the door, which was unlocked, the publication reported, citing an unnamed official. Guyger told investigators, according to the same official, that she entered the dark apartment, saw someone inside, and thought she had been the victim of a burglary. Guyger said she pulled her gun and fired twice, striking Botham Jean once, the official said.
It wasn’t until she turned on the lights that she realized she was in the wrong apartment. Guyger told authorities she parked on the fourth level of the South Side Flats garage Thursday night, but that she normally parked on the third level of the upscale apartment complex directly south of Dallas’ downtown, according to the USA Today report. And that’s how she ended up walking into the wrong apartment thinking it was hers, she said. She told police she failed to notice Jean’s doormat was red, unlike hers.
Jean, a native of St. Lucia who worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, was shot in the chest, the official said, as per the publication. Guyger called 911, and Jean was taken to a hospital where he later died.
Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, has wondered whether race played a role in her son’s killing, according to CBS News. The family still lives in the Caribbean island nation, where Jean spent most of his life until he moved to the U.S. to attend college in Arkansas.
“If it was a white man, would it have been different? Would she have reacted differently?” Allison Jean said Friday.
On Sunday, Guyger was charged with manslaughter, a second-degree felony in Texas punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and has been freed on bail. The police officer was involved in another shooting last year. According to CBS News, Guyger shot a man named Uvaldo Perez on May 12, 2017, during a struggle while she was on duty.
Friends and family gathered Saturday at the Dallas West Church of Christ to remember Jean, who graduated in 2016 from Harding University where he often led campus religious services as a student. Jean is remembered as a top student and religious man who had a reputation for volunteerism and charity work.