This Sunday, Dallas police arrested officer Amber Guyger on manslaughter charges after she shot and killed a man after entering his apartment last week. According to Guyger’s story, she mistakenly thought she had entered her own apartment and opened fire when she saw 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean, thinking he was an intruder.
Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, had reportedly just finished her shift and was in full uniform at the time of the shooting. She called 9-11 after shooting Jean, who was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Jean’s death was ruled a homicide by the coroner. He was shot once in the chest.
The killing of Jean has sparked widespread debate and skepticism about Guyger’s account of the shooting, Adding to the suspicion is the fact that Guyger is white and Jean is black.
“Right now, there are more questions than answers,” Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said during a news conference.
According to a report from Dallas NPR affiliate station KERA, Guyger had previously been involved in one shooting. In May of 2017, she shot a man named Uvaldo Perez, but wasn’t charged.
After Jean was killed, police treated the incident as if it were just another officer-related shooting, but Chief Hall said that as they continued the investigation, “it became clear that we were dealing with what appears to be a much different and very unique situation.”
“It’s not clear what the interaction was between her and the victim,” she said.
On a post from the Dallas Police Department’s Facebook page, some commenters said they thought the charges should have been brought sooner.
“If Pookie from around the way would have taken someone’s life, he would have been arrested on the spot,” one commenter wrote. “And you wonder why community relations is bad.”
“No, no, no,” wrote another. “Manslaughter is when you accidentally kill someone via vehicle crash or the like. Not when you point your loaded gun at someone and pull the trigger. That is murder. She should be charged with breaking and entering and MURDER of the lawful resident.”
A tweet posted by someone claiming to be Jean’s neighbor points that he had a bright red mat in front of his door, further calling into question Guyger’s account that she didn’t recognize the apartment as his.
From NPR’s Camila Domonoske:
“Jean was a graduate of Harding University in Arkansas and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Dallas Morning News reports.
“He was from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and the oldest son of a former government minister, and his mother was the permanent secretary of the ministry of education, innovation, gender relations and sustainable development, according to the St. Lucia Times.”
Jean family attorney S. Lee Merritt said they want Guyger “to be treated like every other citizen, and where there is evidence that they’ve committed a crime, that there’s a warrant to be issued and an arrest to be made.”
[This article has been updated to include the tweet from Alyssa Kinsey] Featured image: Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office