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Amber Guyger: Deadly Fact about Police Officer who shot and killed Botham Shem Jean

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Dallas police on Saturday identified the off-duty officer who shot a neighbor in his own home as Amber Guyger, who has been with the department for four years. Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said Saturday that a warrant for the officer has been put on hold by the Texas Rangers as they investigate.

Late Thursday evening, an off-duty Dallas officer who was still in uniform shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment, saying she apparently mistook his unit as her own, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reports.

“We are totally committed to getting to the bottom of this situation,” Hall said Saturday while taking questions about the shooting during a leadership summit at Paul Quinn College.

“This is a tragedy. Regardless of the circumstances, this is a tragedy on both sides,” she said.

Hall did answer why the officer has not been charged yet with any crime even though she said Friday that the department was seeking a manslaughter charge.

“The Texas Rangers had an opportunity to interview the officer. Based on that interview, they asked us to hold off on the warrant until they had an opportunity to investigate some of the information that was provided during that interview,” Hall said.

Guyger was in full uniform when she shot Jean, who was black, Hall said. Hall couldn’t provide the location of the officer or whether she was in custody. Hall said Friday the officer’s blood will be tested to determine whether she had been using drugs or alcohol.

When officers initially responded to the scene, they began investigating the case as an officer-involved shooting, Hall said. When the circumstances “led us to another direction,” she said the department invited the Texas Rangers to take over and conduct and independent investigation.

Hall said she had spoken with Jean’s sister and offered the family condolences.

Residents of the apartment complex said they can access their units with a regular key or through a keypad code.

Two women who live on the second floor near where the shooting happened said they heard a lot of noise late Thursday.

“It was, like, police talk: ‘Open up! Open up!'” 20-year-old Caitlin Simpson told The Dallas Morning News.

Yazmine Hernandez, 20, was studying with Simpson when they heard the commotion.

“We heard cops yelling, but otherwise had no idea what was going on,” Hernandez said.

Jean grew up in St. Lucia and attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he often led campus worship services before graduating in 2016, the school said in a statement. His mother, Allison Jean, who lives in St. Lucia, suggested her son might still be alive if he were white.

“I didn’t know she was white until now. If it was a white man would it have been different? Would she have reacted differently?” Allison Jean said Friday in footage broadcast by KXAS.

Here’s what you need to know about Amber Guyger:


1. Dallas Police Say Amber Guyger Was in Uniform When She Approached Jean’s Apartment & Guyger Is Reportedly ‘Devastated’

Dallas police released some details of what occurred in a news release. “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,” they wrote.

Martin, the Dallas News reporter, wrote on Twitter that her source also says that Guyger did not know Jean before the shooting and had moved into the upscale apartment complex only the month before.

Martin’s source told her that Guyger is “devastated. She is so, so sorry for his family.” This photo from a family member’s Facebook page was also causing some controversy on social media, however.

S. Lee Merritt law office wrote on Twitter, “Our office has been retained to represent the estate of #BothamShemJean. Our first & foremost priority will be to ensure justice is served for this family. That includes holding Amber Guyger accountable for her crimes as well as ID’ing all responsible for enabling this incident.”

“There was at least enough evidence for a charge of manslaughter, and there is likely evidence for even stiffer penalty charges,” Merritt said in a press conference, saying it was “incumbent on law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office” to issue a warrant for the officer’s arrest. Merritt called it “deferential treatment for law enforcement officers,” saying that Jean’s family is very upset. “We ask that they (law enforcement officers) be treated like any other citizen… for an arrest to be made.”

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.”

A press release from Ben Crump law firm, and sent to Heavy, reads, “Acclaimed civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Dallas attorney Lee Merritt were retained as co-counsel by the family of Botham Shem Jean. Jean was slain last week by an unidentified Dallas police officer who mistakenly thought Jean’s apartment was her own. Jean, a native of St. Lucia, was a risk assurance specialist for PricewaterhouseCoopers.”

Police haven’t given out a lot of information, but they did provide some details previously. “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.”

Dallas Police told Fox 4 News’ Steve Eagar that the officer was on the wrong floor of the apartment building, the South Side Flats, when the shooting occurred. Her apartment was on another floor, Eagar reports. “Her key didn’t work in the door. Shooting happened shortly after resident opened his own door,” he wrote on Twitter. He said she was continuing to try to open the door with her key when the door was opened.

2. Officer Amber Rene Guyger, Who Has Worked for the Department for Almost 5 Years, Cried in the Hall for Minutes, a Witness Alleges

A spreadsheet of Dallas police officers lists Amber Guyger with the following information: “Guyger, Amber R. Police Officer 11/6/2013 Dallas Police Dept – Uniform 24.85 Active Full-time (Permanent) WHT F 2080.”

Amber Guyger has deleted her Facebook account.

A woman who uses the name @bunny.babbs posted two videos on Instagram that she wrote captured the aftermath of the shooting. Heavy was able to confirm that the hallway and circumstances shown in the videos matched the scene through an interview with Jean’s next-door neighbor, Alyssa Kinsey, who heard the gunshot and watched some of it unfold through her apartment door peephole. The Instagram user has now privatized her account. Here are the videos she posted. The first one shows the CPR attempt; it’s tilted sideways in part because that’s how the user posted it.


3. Amber Guyger Was Involved in a Previous Officer-Related Shooting & Botham Shem Jean’s Mother Says Her Son ‘Did No One Any Wrong’

Stories posted online and a database of police shootings identified Amber Guyger as having been involved in a previous officer-involved shooting. In that one, the man lived and she was on duty, news reports show.

The Dallas Police Department’s website wrote in 2017, “The suspect in this offense has been identified as Uvaldo Perez L/M/46. He is being charged with Taking A Weapon from an Officer, Possession of Meth, Possession of Marijuana, and Parole Violation. Mr. Perez remains hospitalized at this time. The officer involved in this incident is Officer Amber Guyger, #10702. She is assigned to the Southeast Crime Response Team (CRT) and has been on the department for three years and six months.”

The police website included this description of the Perez shooting:

On May 12, 2017, at about 8:58 am, Dallas officers from the Crime Response Team responded to the 8300 block of Reva Street after receiving information from undercover officers that a wanted female was at the location. When the uniformed officers arrived, they observed the female they believed to be wanted sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with a male sitting in the front driver seat and another male sitting in the back seat. While officers were attempting to identify the female passenger, the male passenger sitting in the rear seat exited the vehicle after being told repeatedly by officers to remain seated. The male suspect then engaged in a physical confrontation with the officers. The suspect was able to gain control of one of the officer’s taser causing an officer to draw their firearm and shoot the suspect. The suspect was transported to an area hospital where he is listed in stable condition. There were no officers injured. This incident will be documented on case number 106261-2017

Mundo Hispanico, a Spanish-language publication, also wrote a story on the Perez shooting. The translation indicates that police were searching for a woman and made a traffic stop. During it, Perez is accused of trying to take the officer’s taser, and it was at that point that he was shot. He was shot in the abdomen but was listed as being in stable condition.

Botham Shem Jean comes from a prominent family in Saint Lucia. According to St. Lucia Times, Jean was the son of Allison Jean, described as “former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and sustainable Development” and Bertram Jean, who was a store supervisor for Water and Sewerage Company Inc., known as WASCO. His uncle, Ignatius Jean, is “Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association Inc. (CAWASA) and former government Minister and Parliamentarian,” St. Lucia Times reported.

Jean’s mother, who is also known as Allie Jean, told NBC News from Saint Lucia: “He did no one any wrong.” The shooting occurred at an upscale apartment complex called South Side Flats not far from downtown Dallas, NBC reported.

“Somebody has to be crazy not to realize that they walked into the wrong apartment,” Allie Jean said. “He’s a bachelor. Things are different inside.”

Botham Shem Jean’s uncle Earl Jean, who is a coach from Saint Lucia, posted a photo tribute to his deceased nephew on Facebook.

“My heart goes with you my boy…never thought this day would come ,wanted to be there for you always my boy …how can this nasty world take you away from me ….this is the worst day of my life thus far….uncle loves you so much …there goes Mr.botham shem Jean….iam lost for words…part of me has left !Gone with the Angel’s ….lord keep me sane,” wrote a heartbroken Earl Jean.

Jean’s family members repeatedly expressed pride in him on Facebook. On a photo of Jean wearing a suit and tie, another relative wrote, “This is my work of art – dedicated, committed, hard-working, intelligent – Vote Botham for President!”

General Manager of WASCO Edmund Regis told St. Lucia Times that the company was extending sympathies to Jean’s family, saying, “this is undoubtedly what can only be described as a difficult time of bereavement for the Jean family.”

In Arkansas, while attending college, Jean was involved in the College Church of Christ. “He led singing often in HU Chapel and at the College Church of Christ in Searcy,” Glenn Dillard, Harding’s assistant vice president for enrollment management, said to The Christian Chronicle. “He had a beautiful voice.”

Tracy Moore, a preacher who knew Jean through church, told the Christian news site, “I used to go to the Caribbean Lectures and met him there. An impressive young man. A powerful singer and always a spirit of joy that flowed from him.” Christian Chronicle reported that Jean and his family are involved in Church of Christ in Saint Lucia as well. He was known for running the technology for a series of church lectures in the Caribbean.

He appears in this video of a church lecture.


4. Amber Guyger Was the Only Woman on an Elite Police Unit & Commented on Fitness Websites

The Dallas Morning News reports that Guyger was the “sole woman” selected to serve on an “elite critical response team of about 10 officers who make high-risk arrests in the division’s crime hot spots.”

Online property records indicate that Amber Guyger might not have lived in the apartment complex where the shooting occurred for long. She has long-standing ties to Arlington, Texas, per online records.

On the Internet, she appears to have shown an interest in fitness, sometimes commenting on fitness stories or websites.

On Facebook, Botham Shem Jean wrote that he had studied “accountancy” at Harding University. He also studied at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, went to St. Mary’s College, and was from Castries, Saint Lucia. At St. Mary’s, Jean studied accounting and mathematics, and was the Young Leaders president and on the debate teams and in the choir.

His Facebook page said that he had lived in Searcy, Arkansas. He wrote in 2013, “I miss St. Lucian food 🙁 I really want a breadfruit, dasheen, greenfig and saltfish now.”

Harding University is a private college in Searcy, so it appears Jean was there to study accounting several years ago. A former classmate confirmed this in an email to Heavy, writing, “I went to Harding with Botham. I can confirm he graduated from there and was living in Dallas. A great leader on our campus and will be missed.”

The university released a statement to the Dallas Morning News that read, “We’re all deeply grieved. He was just one of those people who really stood out, with his voice and his leadership.”

He graduated from college in 2015, news reports say. “I always saw Botham around campus. He always wanted to lead in chapel in whatever way he could. He was always so nice and so kind. He was definitely a light at Harding – one who I could never forget. Prayers for his family and friends,” wrote Amy Johnson on Twitter.

His page also says he worked for a company named Harris Paints. More recently, according to his LinkedIn page, Botham Shem Jean was working for the major consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, Texas, as a “title risk assurance experienced associate.” He had held the position since July 2016, his page says, but had worked for the company since 2015.

“This is a terrible tragedy. Botham Jean was a member of the PwC family in our Dallas office and we are simply heartbroken to hear of his death,” PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a statement.


5. Family Members Had High Hopes for Botham Jean, With His Uncle Once Writing That ‘the World Is at Your Door’

Jean’s uncle Earl commented on his thread three years ago that the future looked very bright for Jean.

“Good looking and intelligent young Jean….the world is at your door…But everything in Gods timing. ..always proud of you!!” wrote Earl Jean.

His mother, who still lives in St. Lucia, wrote, “Looking good my son!” Other comment threads similarly filled with flattery. “Look up Man in the dictionary and this photo will be next to it,” wrote one friend. “Presidential photo,” wrote one.

“This boy is and WILL ALWAYS BE a STAR!!!” wrote a woman named Desi Charles.

Omar Suleiman, a Dallas-based activist, wrote on Facebook that a vigil would be held Friday night at the Dallas Police Headquarters at 7 p.m. “You don’t just get to walk in someone’s house, shoot them dead, and say whoops I thought it was my own house. Join us tonight and demand justice for #BothamShemJean,” he wrote. He added that any other suspect would be in jail.

Read Next: Amber Guyger Shot Suspect Uvaldo Perez Before Botham Jean Last Year

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