Questions surrounding the mysterious death of Botham Shem Jean, the 26-year-old man killed by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger on Sept. 6 after she allegedly mistook Jean’s apartment for hers, continue to mount, adding additional confusion to an already mind-bending case.
Now, two different stories relating to the same crime have surfaced.
What are the details?
The discrepancies center around how Guyger gained access to an apartment that was not hers and whether or not she exchanged words with Jean before shooting him dead, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The arrest affidavit for Guyger, filed by a Texas Ranger and based off of Guyger’s version of events, claims Guyger “inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door key hole. The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger’s arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion.”
The affidavit explains the door being opened “alerted” Jean to Guyger’s presence. It was then Guyger claims “she had encountered a burglar, which was described as a large silhouette, across the room in her apartment.” She then drew her service firearm, “gave verbal commands that were ignored by [Jean],” and fired two shots. The fatal shot hit Jean in the chest.
The affidavit claims Guyger only realized she was in the wrong apartment when 911 dispatchers asked for the location of the shooting. “Upon being asked where she was located by emergency dispatchers, Guyger returned to the front door to observe the address and discovered she was at the wrong apartment,” the document states.
Guyger’s arrest affidavit was filed on Sept. 9, three days after the crime occurred.
Meanwhile, the search warrant for Jean’s apartment — filed on Sept. 7, two days before Guyger was interviewed by Texas Rangers — tells an ominously different story.
It claims Guyger attempted to enter Jean’s apartment with a “set of keys.” Jean then “confronted” Guyger “at the door,” the document says, adding, “A neighbor stated he heard an exchange of words, immediately followed by at least two gunshots.”
Lee Merritt, a Dallas-based civil rights attorney who is representing Jean’s family, says two independent witness have come forward offering accounts that contradict Guyger’s. They both claim they heard knocking in the hallway before the two gunshots.
One witness claims they heard a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in, let me in,” before the shots. The other witness says that after hearing the gunshots, they heard a man saying, “Oh my God, why did you do that?”
Merritt said the witnesses are sisters who live at the apartment complex.
“One happened to be in a quiet room reading a book so she was in the best position to hear things. She heard pounding at the door. The other one was in the living room watching TV. She also heard the same pounding at the door,” Merritt said, according to the Star-Telegram.
Guyger is charged with manslaughter. She was arrested last Sunday and released on $300,000 bond.
The incident found controversy last week after KDFW-TV published a story with a headline stating that investigators found marijuana in Jean’s apartment, a fact not relevant to him being gunned down. Critics said it was another instance police and media colluded to criminalize the victim of a gruesome crime.