Dallas police said Friday that they expected a warrant to be issued for the arrest of one of their own in the shooting death of a 26-year-old man in his own apartment, but that still hasn’t happened. Here’s why.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said on Saturday that a female police officer, who Dallas police chief police chief U. Renee Hall said on Friday would be charged with manslaughter, has not yet been arrested because Hall is no longer leading the investigation.
BREAKING: Dallas police chief says warrant hasn't been issued for officer who killed man in his home because state investigators asked her department to wait. https://t.co/pO0aSSWAZd
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 8, 2018
“[A]t my request, we are in the process of obtaining a warrant based on the circumstances we have now,” Chief Hall said yesterday.
Rawlings said today that the Texas Rangers Division has taken over the investigation into the Thursday night shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean.
RIP Botham Shem Jean. He was a 26-year-old black man from St. Lucia who was shot and killed in his own apartment by a white Dallas police officer Thursday night. The officer reportedly faces manslaughter charges. https://t.co/50TnpC1Gb9 pic.twitter.com/shRJnkBcxK
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 8, 2018
HE HAS A NAME: 26 year old Botham Shem Jean was killed by a Dallas police officer who mistakingly thought his apartment was hers’.
A native of St. Lucia, and a graduate of Harding University, a Christian school in Arkansas, his friends called him “Bo.”
May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/BAnBNuUQeN
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) September 7, 2018
“The Texas Rangers are now in charge,” Rawlings said at a press conference. “This is not the Dallas Police Department […] Chief Hall is not calling the shots.”
Rawlings said that this was a good thing because the investigation is now an independent one. He called Jean a “professional,” a “believer in his church” and a “neighbor to his friends.”
“[T]his is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened,” he said.
According to the Star-Telegram, State Sen. Royce West (D) said that the officer involved was “a white, female Dallas police officer” who “shot and killed a person from St. Lucia of African descent.”
The officer will officially be named when charges are filed. In the meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News is reporting that a source within the department has revealed the officer to be Amber Guyger. Guyger was involved in another shooting in 2017.
She shot a 47-year-old suspect who grabbed her Taser when he became “combative” during a search. The man was charged for methamphetamine and marijuana possession, and for violating his parole. He’s been identified as Uvaldo Perez.
Guyger’s time on the force is just under five years, but she is said to have been the “sole woman on a elite crime response team of about 10 officers who make high-risk arrests in the division’s crime hot spots.”
As Law&Crime’s Alberto Luperon reported on Friday, preliminary information suggested that the officer came home in uniform after working a full shift. She told the responding officers that she came into the victim’s apartment thinking it was hers. Authorities didn’t say how it happened, but she ended up opening fire at the person. This individual was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
The officer involved did not sustain injuries was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Dallas Police Department. That investigation is now out of the department’s hands.
Locals were understandably upset by the news that this scenario was even a possibility. They told the Dallas Morning News that they can open apartments with either standard keys or a keypad code.
“How can you make a mistake like that, getting into someone else’s apartment?” said 80-year-old Raquel, a resident who declined to give her last name. “Don’t they train police?”
Sen. West said that “for some strange reason, the door was open and [the officer] was able to gain entry into the apartment.”
“We need to find out whether there was a personal relationship,” he added.
The hallway and then doorway where police say Botham Jean was shot and killed by a DPD Officer who thought she was outside her own apartment. She was on the wrong floor! Neighbors have left flowers at Jean’s door. Chief talked about manslaughter warrant Fri., still no arrest. pic.twitter.com/pC70g7BSRM
— Steve Eagar (@steveeagar) September 8, 2018
Heartbreakingly, Jean’s mother Allison said that the last time she talked to her son was the night before he died. On the night of his death, she thought he was out with friends.
Mother of Dallas shooting victim Botham Shem Jean said she last talked to her son on Wednesday night. She missed talking to him last night, thought he was out with friends. https://t.co/YJmSr5X8pW pic.twitter.com/lLPfI6Tslv
— Cody Lillich (@CodyLillich) September 7, 2018
“Somebody has to be crazy not to realize that they walked into the wrong apartment. He’s a bachelor. Things are different inside,” she told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “I don’t want to judge her. We are Christians. We forgive. But I need to look into her eyes and ask her why did she do that to my son. She took away my heart. My soul. He didn’t deserve to die. The explanation does not make sense.”
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: this story was updated after publication with additional information about the officer’s history on the force, as well as her identification.
[Image via WFAA screengrab]