Former police officer Amber Guyger is accused of shooting an unarmed man in his own apartment.
Before opening statements were to begin on Monday afternoon, state District Judge Tammy Kemp sequestered the jury of four men and 12 women for the entirety of the trial, shielding them from possible outside influence and local news coverage of the case.
Guyger charged with murder in the death of Botham Shem Jean, 26, who she fatally shot Sept. 6, 2018, in Dallas. Guyger was fired from the Dallas police force after the shooting.
Former officer Amber Guyger, who is white, has told investigators in Texas that she mistook Botham Jean, 26, for a burglar intruder after she mistakenly entered his central Dallas apartment one floor above hers and he appeared in the darkness.
Jean was inside his apartment preparing to watch football when, according to court documents, Guyger entered his apartment after her shift with the Dallas Police Department. Guyger has told investigators that she believed she had entered her own apartment and Jean was an intruder. She was not wearing a body camera. She shot him as she stood by the door, according to reports.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit:
Guyger was off-duty at the time of the shooting. Still in her uniform, she parked her car at her complex and walked to what she believed was her apartment,
The door was slightly ajar as she tried to use her key, which has an electronic chip. When she opened the door, she saw the interior was almost completely dark, according to the affidavit. She described seeing a large silhouette and, believing there was an intruder in her apartment, drew her firearm.
During the almost six-minute phone call she made to 911, Guyger said she thought she was in her apartment at least 19 times, according to an audio recording.
“Hi, this is an off-duty officer. Umm, can I get, I need to get EMS,” Guyger said to the operator.
“Do you need police as well or just EMS?” she was asked.
Guyger said yes and gave the operator an address. Her apartment was directly below Jean’s.
“I’m an off-duty officer,” Guyger told the operator. “I thought I was in my apartment and I shot a guy thinking he was, thinking it was my apartment.”
The operator told Guyger that help was on the way and she responded, “I know but I’m, I’m going to lose my job. I thought it was my apartment.”
Guyger can then be heard talking to Jean.
“Hey bud. Hey bud. Hey bud. Come on. Oh [expletive]. I thought it was my apartment,” and then later, “Oh my God. I’m done. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. Hey bud.”
Listen to the 911 recording: If you’re unable to play the video below click this link.
Murder trial for Amber Guyger gets underway: If unable to watch video below click here.
Jean grew up in St. Lucia, and moved to Arkansas in 2011, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA, to study accounting and information technology at Harding University. He was a singer, according to a statement from the university, and often led campus events in worship.
“Botham was in the prime of his life,” Jean’s uncle, Ignatius Jean, told the Associated Press.
Jean graduated from Harding in 2016, and moved to Dallas to begin a career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Tim Ryan, PwC U.S. Chairman, later announced a campaign to address unconscious racial bias after learning of Jean’s killing.
“For many, Bo’s death is the fullest manifestation of the bias that black people in this country regularly experience in their daily lives,” Ryan wrote in an opinion piece for The Dallas Morning News. “As chief executives and business leaders, we may not have the power to stop tragedies like what happened to Bo from happening again. However, we do have power and influence, and there is a lot we can do to address implicit bias in order to make our workplaces and communities more just, equitable and inclusive.”