Investigations

Dallas officer parked on wrong floor before tragic shooting

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(Screenshot Fox News broadcast)

DALLAS – The arrest affidavit obtained by Fox News of a white Dallas police officer who shot and killed a black neighbor in his own home — after confusing the floor she was on — shed new light on the case, which is headed to a grand jury. As a result, more serious charges are possible.

Guyger just had ended a 15-hour shift Thursday when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex.

David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit obtained by Fox News on Monday that Guyger parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived. This possibly suggested that she was confused or disoriented.

When she put her key in the apartment door that was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened. Inside, the lights were off. Then she saw a figure in the darkness, the affidavit said.

As a result, Guyger incorrectly concluded that her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, who allegedly ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.

Dallas police officer
Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, right, is accused of manslaughter in the death of Botham Jean. (Harding University/Kaufman County Jail)

Tragically, when she turned on the lights, she realized she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit, which appeared to be based almost entirely upon the officer’s account.

Mayor Mike Rawlings also said Monday that Guyger had parked on the wrong floor.

Guyger, 30, was arrested Sunday night and booked into jail in neighboring Kaufman County before being released on a $300,000 bond, as LET previously reported.

“The grand jury will be that entity that will make the final decision in terms of the charge or charges that will come out of this case,” Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson told reporters. “We prepare to present a thorough case to the grand jury of Dallas County, so that the right decision can be made in this case.”

The district attorney also will have the option of presenting more serious charges to the grand jury.

When asked why Guyger was allowed to surrender somewhere other than Dallas County’s jail, Johnson said the Texas Rangers, who also are investigating, made the decision.

The Dallas County medical examiner’s office said Jean, who grew up on the island of St. Lucia, died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a homicide.

Jean’s mother said investigators had not given her family an account of what happened. Allison Jean told a news conference that she asked many questions, but was told there are no answers yet.

Jean’s family hired attorney Benjamin Crump, who is best known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

Crump seemed to infer white police officers are now targeting black citizens in their homes, a ludicrous accusation.

“Black people in America have been killed by police in some of the most unbelievable manners,” Crump said Monday at a news conference, citing “driving while black in our cars” and “walking while black in our neighborhoods.”

Now, he said, “we are being killed living while black when we are in our apartments.”

The family’s legal team also includes Lee Merritt, who has represented race related interests. He recently represented a motorist arrested for DUI, but falsely accused a state trooper of sexual assault. Once the body cam was released, the accusations were rescinded, but not before damage was done.

Sgt. Mike Mata, president of Dallas’ largest police union, the Dallas Police Association, called Saturday for an “open, transparent and full investigation of the event,” the Dallas Morning News reported.

He described Jean as an “amazing individual” and said that “if the grand jury deems necessary, this officer should have to answer for her actions in a court of law in Dallas County.”

On the day after the shooting, Police Chief U. Renee Hall said her department was seeking manslaughter charges against Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police force. But Hall said Saturday that the Texas Rangers asked her department to hold off because they had learned new information and wanted to investigate further before a warrant was issued.

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Police Chief U. Renee Hall speaking to the press. (Screenshot NBCDFW broadcast)

Guyger’s blood was drawn at the scene to be tested for alcohol and drugs, Hall said, but authorities have not released results.

Guyger was involved in a justified shooting last year. She shot a man named Uvaldo Perez on May 12, 2017, while on duty.

According to an affidavit filed against Perez, police were looking for a suspect when Guyger and another officer were called to assist a third officer. Perez got out of a car and became combative with Guyger and another officer. A struggle began, and Guyger fired her stun gun at Perez, who then wrested it away from her. She then drew her gun and fired, wounding Perez in the abdomen.

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