Officer accused of killing man in wrong apartment indicted for murder

Botham Jean Amber Guyger

The former white Dallas police officer who allegedly shot and killed her unarmed black neighbor in his apartment before saying she had entered it by mistake was indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury Friday.

Amber Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter in the September 6 shooting that left 26-year-old Botham Jean dead. But Johnson said at the time that the grand jury could upgrade the charge, which it did Friday.

Police say Guyger entered Jean's home at the South Side Flats after a shift, and opened fire, striking him in the torso.

Guyger said she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the person, who ignored them. Still in her uniform, Guyger parked her auto in the complex and walked to what she believed was her apartment, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Inside, the apartment "was almost completely dark", Guyger told investigators, adding that when she saw Jean she assumed he was a burglar.

At a press conference, Allison Jean, Botham's mother said, "I truly believe that she inflicted tremendous evil on my son". Public backlash also targeted the Dallas Police Department for waiting nearly three weeks to fire Guyger.

If convicted of murder, Guyger faces life in prison.

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"This is groundbreaking, but it is also just a start", Merritt said.

"At the moment of this shooting, it was an intentional and knowing offense", Dallas County District Attorney Johnson said.

Court records were posted Friday before Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson held a press conference announcing the decision of a grand jury on the fate of Amber Guyger.

The shooting occurred on September 6, 2018.

The district attorney's office made sure its investigative efforts were thorough "so we would know all the pieces of evidence we need to take before the grand jury", Johnson said. The door, according to the document, was ajar and Guyger opened it.

Jean, a 26-year-old man from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, moved to Arkansas with his family when he was young, according to the family's attorney, Lee Merritt. He said Jean's mother testified before the grand jury, which he described as highly unusual. "Several members of Jean's childhood choir created a video tribute of them signing "Lean on Me" from all over the world because they could not attend", the Dallas Morning News reported at the time.

"By simply following proper police procedures and the best police practices and not the protocol of the DPD to 'shoot first and ask questions later, ' Defendant Guyger would have not shot Jean", the lawsuit states. He had worked for the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm in Dallas since graduating. Critics, including Jean's family, also wondered why it took three days for Guyger to be charged, why she wasn't taken into custody immediately after the shooting and whether race played a factor in her decision to use deadly force. She has since been fired from the department and Jean's family has filed a lawsuit against Guyger and the city of Dallas. Guyger lived in an apartment one floor below Jean's unit.

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