Police officer who shot neighbour after 'mistakenly' entering his apartment now claims he ignored her 'verbal commands'
Amber Guyger says she shot her neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered after he ignored her "verbal commands," according to an affidavit.
The Dallas police officer charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a man in his own apartment says she took the drastic step after the victim, Botham Shem Jean, 26, ignored her verbal commands.
On Thursday night, Amber Guyger walked into Jean's apartment in uniform, mistaking it for her own, after returning from a 12-hour shift. She said she fired her gun twice at Jean, who died later at a nearby hospital, only after he ignored her "verbal commands," according to a Texas Rangers arrest affidavit released Monday.
On Monday, about 150 people marched to the Dallas police headquarters to protest Jean's death along with that of Jorge Olguin, who was allegedly killed by a security guard after a dispute at a family party earlier this month.
In order to contain the frenzied crowd, law enforcement officers resorted to firing pepper balls; some others moved on horseback to restrict the protest. According to the Dallas Morning News, the group marched from police headquarters to the Dallas Police Association and back, blocking traffic across the city before finally dispersing for the night.
However, community leaders say the protest is far from over, as they plan to take to the streets once more sometime later in the week.
Officer Guyger said she was able to enter Jean's apartment as the door was slightly open. She initially believed it was her own apartment before realizing her mistake. Having said that, Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Jean's family, said there are two witnesses who directly contradict the officer's version of events, CBS 11 reports.
Meritt says that witnesses heard a woman knocking on the door and saying "Let me in" before the shooting. Jean was a "meticulous" person and would not have carelessly left his door ajar, Merritt says.
***JUST IN***@MeritLaw says at least two witnesses heard a series of knocking at Botham Jean’s apartment and a woman’s voice saying ‘let me in’ repeatedly.— Matt Howerton (@HowertonNews) September 10, 2018
Says this contradicts police narrative about Guyger entering Jean’s apartment because door was left opened. @wfaa pic.twitter.com/V8Vmz67wDJ
But according to Guyger, who was arrested after being charged with manslaughter on Sunday, the apartment was completely dark and she thought a burglar was inside her home when she noticed a large silhouette move across the room, thus prompting her to draw her firearm.
Guyger said she then gave a couple of verbal commands to Jean, which were allegedly ignored, and so she fired her weapon twice, striking the 26-year-old once in the torso.
She later turned the lights on only to realize that her residence was on the floor below Jean's.
Guyger's affidavit states that the interior floor plan and exterior surroundings of each apartment are "identical" or "extremely similar" to each another.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said that a separate agency from the Dallas Police Department - the Texas Ranger Division - has taken over the investigation. As of now, Guyger has been released from prison on a $300,000 bond.
“The Texas Rangers made the decision to issue an arrest warrant for Manslaughter,” Johnson said. “The ultimate decision, in terms of what this charge will be, will be presented to the grand jury.”
That said, Benjamin Crump, one of the victim's attorneys, slammed the Dallas Police Department for failing to make a timely arrest. "You or I would be arrested if we went to the wrong apartment and blow a hole in a person's chest, killing them," he said.
Botham Shem Jean graduated from Harding University, a private Christian institution in Arkansas, in 2016, and was working as an associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas.
During a conversation with NBC News, Allison Jean, his mother, said, “[Guyger] took away my heart, she took away my soul, she took away everything.”
"He was my pride and my joy," she said. "There are times when you feel like giving up. I could not give up because of Botham. And right now, in his death, I can never give up."