Dallas court indicts former officer in Sept. shooting case
Dallas County court records show that Amber Guyger has been indicted on a murder charge for the killing of her unarmed neighbor
DALLAS — Dallas County court records show that a former Dallas police officer has been indicted on a murder charge for the killing of her unarmed neighbor when she says she mistakenly went to his apartment instead of her own and shot him.
The court records were posted Friday before authorities were set to announce the decision of a grand jury on the fate of Amber Guyger. She was arrested days after the Sept. 6 shooting that killed her 26-year-old neighbor Botham Jean, who was from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia.
Guyger told investigators she mistook Jean's apartment for her own and thought she'd encountered an intruder. She has since been fired from the department and Jean's family has filed a lawsuit against Guyger and the city of Dallas.
The shooting thrust Dallas into the national conversation on the intersection of race and law enforcement. A grand jury indicted a white former Dallas police officer on a charge in the killing of her unarmed black neighbor when she mistakenly went to his apartment rather than her own and shot him, authorities said.
Amber Guyger was arrested on a manslaughter charge three days after the Sept. 6 shooting of her 26-year-old neighbor Botham Jean, a native of the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia who attended college in Arkansas and had been working in Dallas for accounting and consulting firm PwC.
Guyger told investigators that after finishing a 15-hour shift, she returned home in-uniform and parked on the fourth floor of her apartment complex's garage, rather than the third floor, where her unit was located, according to an affidavit prepared by the Texas Rangers. She said she got to what she thought was her apartment — Jean's was directly above hers — and found the door ajar. She opened it to find a figure standing in the darkness. She said she pulled her gun and fired twice after the person ignored her commands.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family, has said the document is an attempt to "condone what happened, give her a break."
Guyger has since been fired from the department and Jean's family has filed a lawsuit against Guyger and the city of Dallas. The federal suit argues Guyger used excessive force in the shooting and contends the department did not give her adequate training.
The circumstances of the shooting sparked outrage and led many to question Gugyer's account of what happened. Critics, including Jean's family, also wondered why it took three days for Guygert to be charged, why she wasn't taken into custody immediately after the shooting and whether race played a factor in her decision to use deadly force.
Responding to criticism
The day after Guyger was charged, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said her office would present all of the evidence it could collect to the grand jury, which could decide on more serious charges than manslaughter.
Jean's killing thrust Dallas into the national conversation on the intersection of race and law enforcement, a dialogue revived by the high-profile trials of officers charged with murder in police shootings.
In October, Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 on-duty shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times.
And in August, former Dallas-area officer Roy Oliver was convicted of murder after firing into a car filled with teenagers leaving a house party in 2017 and fatally shooting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.