Dallas officer in wrong apartment shoots, kills neighbor


Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 5

Authorities are seeking a manslaughter warrant for a Dallas police officer who shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, police said on Friday.

It was not clear what the officer might have said to 26-year-old Botham Jean after entering his home late on Thursday.

However, given what investigators currently know about the case, they decided to pursue a manslaughter case, police said.

“Right now, there are more questions than we have answers,” Dallas Police Department Chief U. Renee Hall said at a news conference on Friday afternoon.

She said she spoke to Jean’s sister to express condolences to the family.

It was also unclear if the officer was in custody.

Hall said she did not know the whereabouts of the officer, whose name was not released.

Police said the officer returned home in her uniform after her shift. She called dispatch to report that she had shot a man, and she later told the officers who responded that she believed the victim’s apartment was her own when she entered it.

The responding officers administered first aid to Jean, a native of the Caribbean country of Saint Lucia who attended college in Arkansas and worked for accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Jean was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The officer’s blood was drawn to be tested for drugs and alcohol, Hall said, but declined to speculate as to whether fatigue or other factors might have factored into the shooting.

The Texas Ranger Division would conduct an independent investigation, she added.

Jean grew up in Saint Lucia and attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he majored in accounting and information systems and often led campus worship services before graduating in 2016, the school said in a statement.

In July 2016, he went to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers in risk assurance.

The company in a statement that it was “simply heartbroken to hear of his death.”

Jean’s family and friends described him as a devout Christian and a talented singer.

His uncle Ignatius Jean said the slaying left relatives devastated and looking for answers.

“You want to think it’s fiction ... and you have to grapple with the reality,” he said.

He called Botham Jean a “brilliant” man of “impeccable character” and said news of his death had rippled across the small island nation.

“Botham was in the prime of his life,” his uncle said.

Nathan Monan, a friend from Harding University, said Botham Jean was kind to everybody and would often lead people in song during chapel at the private university in Arkansas.

“He lived what he spoke,” Monan said, adding that Jean’s death has stirred emotions of overwhelming sadness and anger. “This doesn’t make sense to anybody right now.”

Authorities have not said how the officer got into Jean’s home, or whether his door was open or unlocked.

The apartment complex is just a few blocks from the department’s headquarters.

Residents of the complex said they can access their units with a key or through a keypad code.