Despite rampant social media reports that they dated or knew each other already, the attorney for Botham Shem Jean‘s family and local news outlets in Dallas, quoting police sources, all say there is no evidence that Jean knew Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger before she is accused of shooting him to death.
Police have said previously that Guyger may have mistakenly gone to Jean’s apartment door because she thought it was her own. She was wearing a police uniform and had recently completed a long shift but was off-duty when the shooting occurred, authorities say.
On November 30, 2018, Guyger was indicted on a murder charge. That charge, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said, requires an element that the person “intentionally and knowingly” committed the crime versus doing it recklessly, CNN reported, quoting Johnson as saying, “At the moment of the shooting it was a knowing … offense.” Guyger’s lawyer insists the shooting was a “true mistake,” according to CNN.
Both WFAA-TV and The Dallas Morning News reported that sources, whom they did not name, said that Botham Jean and Amber Guyger did not know each other. “The man killed by a Dallas police officer at his apartment on Thursday night did not know the officer,” reported WFAA-TV. Those accounts were essentially confirmed by the attorney representing the family of Jean, a native of Saint Lucia who came to the United States to study accounting and later obtained a job in risk assessment for a major company.
Morning News reporter Naomi Martin, who was first to break the officer’s name, reported through a source that Jean and Guyger had never met before.
Jean, 26, was a beloved person known for his church involvement, leadership on campus, smile, and friendly demeanor. His family’s lawyer is calling for Guyger’s “swift” arrest. Her arrest occurred on Sunday.
Guyger was arrested by the Texas Rangers in Kaufman County, Texas on the evening of September 9, 2018, and is being accused of manslaughter, jail records show.
Kaufman County Jail online records show that Guyger is in custody there. Her mugshot is also available on the public site. She is being held on $300,000 bail.
Here’s what you know:
Some of the Confusion About Guyger & Jean Comes From a Photo Circulated on Social Media – But It Doesn’t Show the Officer
The Dallas Police Department confirmed Amber Guyger was the officer who shot Jean on the evening of September 8, 2018. “The officer involved in this incident has been identified as Officer Amber Guyger #10702. She has been on the department four years and she is assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division,” Dallas police wrote on Twitter.
The confirmation that Guyger was the cop involved came hours after her name went semi-viral on social media, where amateur online sleuths shared photos – some that are of Amber Guyer and one that is not. One widely circulated picture sparked the talk that Guyger had dated or knew Botham Shem Jean because it showed Jean standing with several women. The photo came from Jean’s Instagram page.
However, an investigation by Heavy determined that the women in the photo are not Guyger, and other news media have also confirmed as much. WFAA-TV, for example, wrote that the photo was not of Amber Guyger. Steve Eager, a Fox 4 television anchor in Dallas, wrote on Twitter, “Please don’t allow yourself to be trolled by idiots. I personally can’t identify shooting victim Botham Jean. But my friend who knows the police officer says the one on the ‘(left)’ is NOT the 5’3” blonde haired, blue eyed police officer who fired the shot.”
Here are some real photos of Amber Guyger from her sister’s Facebook page:
Lee Merritt, one of the lawyers representing Botham Jean’s family, revealed in a news conference on September 8 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.”
Dallas Police Were Seeking a Manslaughter Warrant But the Texas Rangers, Who Took Over the Investigation, Waited Until Sunday
Amber Rene Guyger was not been subjected to arrest until Sunday. Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall previously said that police had enough evidence to seek a warrant for manslaughter, but police revealed on Saturday that the Texas Rangers, who took over the investigation, were still investigating and wanted to wait on any warrant. By Sunday, they were ready and Guyger was in jail. Online records show that Amber Guyger has long ties to Texas and is 30-years-old.
“When the Rangers arrived, the investigation was turned over to them and they made the decision to postpone pursuing a warrant, until they could follow up on information that they received from the interview with the officer,” Dallas police explained, without elaborating. “The Texas Rangers will take the appropriate time to review the vast amount of evidence and information secured by Dallas Police Department investigators. This will allow them to be thorough in their decision as to how to move forward.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings has supported the police chief, saying, “It’s important that the citizens know that I believe what Chief Hall has done has been exactly the right thing. This is a tough situation.”
Police have not released many specifics of the shooting, although they did say previously that they were testing Guyger for drugs and alcohol. “On September 6, 2018 at about 9:59 p.m., an off duty Dallas Police officer called police dispatch and said she was involved in a shooting at the apartments located at 1210 S. Lamar,” police wrote in a previous news release.
“Preliminary information suggests that the officer arrived home in full uniform after working a full shift. The officer reported to the responding officers that she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own. At some point, the officer fired her weapon striking the victim. Responding officers administered aid to the victim, a 26-year-old male, at the scene. The victim was then transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased.”
Police said it wasn’t clear what interaction occurred between Jean and Guyger leading to the shooting.
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