Dallas, Texas – Social media conspiracy theorists and neighbours are contributing to a misleading story over events that led to the shooting of an innocent man in his own apartment by a female cop who had just returned home after a 15-hour shift.
On September 6 at approximately 9:59 p.m. Dallas police officer Amber Guyger returned to her apartment building at 1210 S. Lamar. She had moved in to the upscale building just a month before. She apparently went to the wrong apartment unit thinking it was hers.
Botham Shem Jean (Bo), a 26-year-old immigrant from Saint Lucia lived there. She fired a shot, killing Jean.
The death from a police shooting of a black man caused a furor on social media and there have been angry questions from reporters and family members seeking justice for the young man who by all accounts was a good, friendly man employed by Price Waterhouse.
However, the facts and charges laid in the case, suggest a tragic cascade of errors that led to a fatal shooting of a well-liked, humble man.
On Sunday, Guyger, a policewoman for four years, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Bail has been set at $300,000 according to jail records.
Earlier, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, who had handed over the investigation to the Texas Rangers to avoid any suggestion of bias, said: “On behalf of the Dallas Police Department, we are continuing to pray for Mr. Jean’s family.”
“And (we) ask that the community remain patient as this investigation is conducted.
Hall said: “I want to give you details of what we know so far and to clear up some inconsistencies that have already been reported.
“Last night, a female Dallas Police officer returned to what she believed to be her apartment after her shift ended – she was still in uniform when she encountered Mr. Botham Shem Jean inside the apartment.”
“It’s not clear what the interaction was between her and the victim,” she added. “Then at some point she fired her weapon striking the victim.”
“She called 911 – officers responded in about four minutes. Dallas Fire Rescue also responded and took Mr. Jean to the hospital where he later died.”
“At the very early stages of this investigation – initial indications were that they were what we consider circumstances of an officer involved shooting.
“However, as we continued this investigation it became clear that we were dealing with what appears to be a much different and very unique situation.
“Therefore, we have ceased handling it under our normal officer involved shooting protocol, a blood sample was drawn to test for drugs and alcohol, we are in the process of obtaining a warrant, and we have also invited the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent investigation,” Hall added, according to a press release by Dallas Police.
“I’ve spoken with the family expressed my condolences and reassured them that we are working diligently and that we have invited an outside agency to investigate.
“Right now there are more questions than answers. We understand the concerns of the community. That is why we are working as vigorously and meticulously as we can to ensure the integrity of the case and the department is upheld.”
Two reports have circulated on social media and have been reported in the media.
One account says officer Guyger arrived at the wrong apartment and tried to open the door with her key. At the same time Jean opened the door to see who it was and was shot by the officer who thought he was a burglar.
A Dallas Morning News report quoting police sources said Guyger entered the apartment which was dark after finding the door open. She fired a shot at Jean in the dark believing he was a burglar. In both accounts there is one commonality: Guyger was at the wrong door and lived in the same building on a different floor.
The victim and the suspect did not know each other and no one has indicated any connection between the two.
But one neighbour in particular, who was a good friend of Jean has questioned the police accounts.
Alyssa Kinsey, who was on good terms with Jean, posted a photo of the front door of the apartment where her friend lived, next door to her.
Said Kinsey on Facebook: “Please take note of the *bright red* floor mat. (I took this photo yesterday.)”
“But she didn’t see that when she was fumbling with the keys? or when she put her bag down? Really? really????”
“This story makes no sense. My wonderful neighbor is dead, so many are completely traumatized and she is walking free.”
“Where is the Justice??
“This happened in the apartment next to me, to my very kind and friendly neighbor. I am absolutely heartbroken,” she added.
“Please, please keep his family in your prayers and send love and light their way. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain they are in.”
Police files reveal a troubling spot in officer Guyger’s history.
While she had been on the force for only four years, this was the second shooting incident in just over a year.
She was involved in an earlier shooting incident, according to data on record on Dallas police news reports, on May 12, 2017.
The police press statement on the Dallas Police website states:
“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.”
Later police identified the suspect in that case as Uvaldo Perez, 46. He was charged with taking a weapon from officer Amber Guyger, possession of meth, possession of marijuana and parole violations. Perez recovered from the gunshot.
“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,” said the Dallas Police release in that shooting.
Conspiracy theorists persist however, and one of the posters being circulated is this one shown below.