A Dallas police officer has allegedly admitted to shooting her 26-year-old neighbor Botham Shem Jean after entering the wrong apartment. Since then, investigators and Internet sleuths have been asking the same question: How the heck does someone make that mistake? This new report could help explain why.
Officer Amber Guyger parked on the wrong floor of the building, a law enforcement source told the Dallas Morning News.
She had just arrived at the South Side Flats apartment complex after a 15-hour shift, and instead parked on the fourth floor, not the third, where she lived, according the source.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also said that Guyger parked on the wrong floor. Police Chief U. Renee Hall said that the officer’s blood was drawn to test for drugs and alcohol.
The third and fourth floors look the same: concrete floors and tan doors. But what Guyger didn’t realize, according to the source, was that Jean’s apartment featured a red doormat out front. She didn’t own one. In any case, she put her key in the door, which was unlocked, and the lights inside were off. She discovered a figure in the dark, and believed it was a burglar, according to the official. She opened fire twice.
It was not a burglar. It was Jean. He sustained a single gunshot wound to the chest. Guyger realized she was in the wrong apartment after turning on the lights, the source said.
The 911 call reportedly showed that she apologized, and said she believed it was her apartment.
A light fixture next to Jean’s door depicted the apartment number. Guyger was apparently new to the building.
Some skepticism about the officer’s mistake even fueled a wild, now-refuted rumor that they had been dating, but authorities and an attorney for Jean’s family say that available evidence shows that they didn’t know each other. A photo circulating online shows the victim with three women, and some Internet commentators suggested one of them was the officer. No, an spokeswoman for Jean’s employer told the Morning News, they were his friends, and none of them worked for law enforcement.
Guyger was arrested Sunday for manslaughter. Now the case is expected to go to a grand jury, though this has yet to be scheduled.
[Mugshot via Kaufman County]