Accused of mistaking her neighbor’s apartment for her own and fatally shooting him, a Dallas police officer faces a charge of manslaughter for taking the innocent man’s life. According to neighbors, the officer never issued a warning or knocked on the door prior to the shooting.
On Friday, the Dallas Police Department issued the following statement: “On September 6, 2018 at about 9:59 p.m., an off duty Dallas Police officer called police dispatch and said she was involved in a shooting at the apartments located at 1210 S. Lamar.
“Preliminary information suggests that the officer arrived home in full uniform after working a full shift. The officer reported to the responding officers that she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own. At some point, the officer fired her weapon striking the victim. Responding officers administered aid to the victim, a 26-year-old male, at the scene. The victim was then transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased.”
The police statement added, “The officer was not injured and will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The victim was recently identified as Botham Shem Jean, a native of the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia who graduated from Harding University in Arkansas and worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Dallas. In a recent statement from Harding University, the school wrote, “The entire Harding family grieves today for the loss of Botham Jean, who has meant so very much to us. Please join us in praying for Botham’s friends and family.”
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, next-door neighbor Alyssa Kinsey asserted that Jean’s front door was easily distinguishable from the other apartments because he had a red half-moon-shaped rug outside the door. Kinsey recalled, “I didn’t hear any knocking or yelling beforehand, just the shot. And then the woman’s voice calling 911.”
“How can you make a mistake like that, getting into someone else’s apartment?” said 80-year-old Raquel, who has lived in the complex for less than a year. “Don’t they train police?”
While refusing to publicly identify the officer involved, Dallas Police Chief Ulysha Renee Hall stated, “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.”
“I don’t want to judge her,” Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, told NBC News. “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.”
Chief Hall confirmed that an arrest warrant is being obtained in order to charge the officer with manslaughter for the death of Jean.