Botham Shem Jean often led chapel at Harding University, where he graduated. (Credit: Harding University)

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Arrest Affidavit Details Officer Guyger’s Side of What Happened In Apartment Shooting

Botham Jean was shot dead by an off duty officer in his apartment last week. The family's lawyer says he has information from witnesses that disprove the warrant's narrative.

Editor’s note: This was updated at 9:04 p.m.

The arrest warrant for Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger says she shot at a “large silhouette” that she believed was a burglar in her apartment. In reality, she had pushed open a door that “was slightly ajar,” accidentally entered Botham Shem Jean’s dark apartment, and fired two shots at the resident when he “ignored” her “verbal commands.” Jean was hit in the torso by one of the two shots. He died at Baylor University Medical Center. The affidavit says Jean was “across the room” and that Guyger “entered the apartment” after firing her weapon. She was in her uniform but off duty.

The narrative in the warrant, which was written by a Texas Rangers investigator, is told from Guyger’s perspective. She said she parked on the wrong floor of the South Side Flats in the Cedars, which confirms what Mayor Mike Rawlings had told the media over the weekend. Guyger’s residence was “directly below” Jean’s and “extremely similar in the exterior surroundings, structure, and description.”

The warrant said Guyger called 911 after firing her weapon and began performing first aid. It notes that she “remained at the scene and informed the responding officers and the 911 operator that she thought she was at her apartment when she shot” Jean. The document says that she only realized she wasn’t in her own apartment after walking outside and seeing the unit number. The warrant does not appear to include testimony from other witnesses in the complex.

Speaking during a news conference Monday night, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the Jean family, called Botham Jean a “meticulous” man, who had a routine of locking his door and hanging his keys on a nearby hook. He said he purchased “the biggest, brightest red rug” to set his unit apart from the others. Merritt also said he has information from two witnesses who say they heard knocking as well as a woman’s voice saying “let me in,” which, Merritt says, runs counter to the arrest warrant’s narrative that Jean’s door was ajar.

“We shared this evidence with the district attorney’s office. At the time we shared it with them they were not aware of it,” Merritt said. “The witnesses came by to speak with the DA’s office and, for them, it began to change the direction of how they were looking at the case.” 

On Monday, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced that her office was conducting an investigation of its own. Johnson said the department planned to take its findings to a grand jury, and that she and her team had a “spirited debate” with the Texas Rangers for “almost two hours,” but “they made it very clear to us that they were going to issue a warrant for manslaughter.”

“We are in this case,” Johnson said. “This case now belongs to the Dallas County District Attorney.”

Guyger turned herself in for manslaughter on Sunday night to the Kaufman County Jail. She posted $300,000 bond and was released an hour later, reportedly allowed to exit the jail through a back door.

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