By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
DALLAS, USA — Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, is facing manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Saint Lucian man, Botham Shem Jean, in his own apartment in a bizarre case that has investigators and the public, along with Jean’s neighbours, puzzled and stunned.
Jean, 26, was shot to death inside his apartment by Guyger, who had just got off duty from a long shift on Thursday night, after she had apparently mistaken Jean’s apartment for hers and thought that Jean was an intruder in her own apartment.
An arrest warrant was being prepared for Guyger on Saturday afternoon and she is expected to be officially charged with manslaughter sometime this week in the shooting death of Jean.
The Texas Rangers stated that they are conducting a separate and internal investigation into the matter under the advice of Police Chief, Renee Hall, who said at a news conference on Friday afternoon, “We have ceased handling it under our normal officer-involved shooting protocols.”
Neighbours and other witnesses said that Jean, a quiet and peaceful man, lived on his own and never had any fuss or problems with his neighbours.
Neighbours are also puzzled as to how Guyger believed that Jean’s apartment was her own, after trying her key and finding it not working. Also, the apartments in the Dallas area Southside Flats Complex where Jean and Guyger lived have their units clearly numbered.
A toxicology report was called for after witnesses said that Guyger was drunk and incoherent during the altercation, when she ended up fatally shooting Jean.
Videos after the shooting had taken place show Guyger frantically running up and down the apartment hallways calling for help and backup, which arrived some time later after Guyger had killed Jean.
Rumours of this being a domestic dispute between Jean and Guyger surfaced after pictures of Jean and Guyger started to circulate. However, these rumours have not been substantiated at this time by investigators, as the pictures in question never had Jean and Guyger in any of them together. In addition, local media, witnesses, family members and neighbours who knew both Guyger and Jean do not recall them having any interaction leading up to the night that Jean was killed.
Guyger faced no charges following a May 12, 2017, incident in which police say she shot and wounded Uvaldo Perez after a struggle that resulted in Perez taking Guyger’s stun gun, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Perez ultimately entered a plea deal in February 2018, admitting he took a weapon from an officer, possessed illegal drugs and violated his parole, the newspaper reported. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
Lee Merritt, one of the lawyers representing Jean’s family, revealed in a news conference on Saturday that the family has no evidence that Jean knew Guyger.
Merritt denied social media claims that Guyger knew Jean before the shooting, saying, “We have nothing to substantiate those claims. Certainly no one that has been attached to the family or any of the law enforcement officers we’ve spoken to can confirm that, in fact they say just the opposite.”
Jean’s family in Saint Lucia are in shock. Jean, who was an accounting major from Harding University in Arkansas, worked for the Dallas area PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a risk assurance specialist, was doing well and great things were expected of him.
Jean’s family has retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump along with Dallas lawyer Lee Merritt to represent them in the matter.
Funeral services for Jean are scheduled for 11 am on Thursday at the Dallas West Church of Christ that he attended.