Dallas officer to be charged with manslaughter after fatally shooting her neighbor

Botham Jean speaks at Harding University in 2014. Authorities said a Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed Jean, a neighbor, after she said she mistook his apartment for her own. (Jeff Montgomery / Harding University)

A Dallas police officer who fatally shot her neighbor and later explained she had mistaken his apartment for hers will be charged with manslaughter, the police chief said Friday.

It’s not clear what the off-duty officer may have said to Botham Jean, 26, late Thursday or whether they interacted before he was shot, Chief U. Renee Hall said during a news conference.

Advertisement

“Right now there are more questions than there are answers,” Hall said.

The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man, police said. She told responding officers 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 island country of St. Lucia who attended college in Arkansas and worked for accounting and consulting firm PwC.

Jean, who was black, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Hall said the officer is white, but she didn’t say whether investigators believe race was a factor in the shooting.

Police haven’t released the name of the officer, who had arrived home in uniform and wasn’t injured. She will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, police said.

Authorities haven’t 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 Dallas police headquarters.

Advertisement

At a Friday morning news conference, Sgt. Warren Mitchell acknowledged there were many questions that he couldn’t answer.

“We still have a lot to do in this investigation. So there’s a lot of information I understand you guys want, but this is all we can give you at this time,” Mitchell said.

When asked if anyone else had witnessed the shooting, Warren said, “We have not spoken to anyone else at this time.”

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

Two women who live on the second floor near where the shooting happened said they heard a lot of noise late Thursday.

“It was, like, police talk: ‘Open up! Open up!’” Caitlin Simpson, 20, told the Dallas Morning News.

Yazmine Hernandez, 20, was studying with Simpson when they heard the commotion.

Advertisement

“We heard cops yelling, but otherwise had no idea what was going on,” Hernandez said.

Jean grew up in St. Lucia and attended Harding University in Searcy, Ark., where he often led campus worship services before graduating in 2016, the school said in a statement. That July, he went to work for PwC in risk assurance.

Police said they are conducting a joint investigation with the Dallas County district attorney’s office.

12:05 p.m.: This article was updated with the police chief saying the officer will be charged with manslaughter and background information about Botham Jean.

This article was originally published at 8:25 a.m.

Advertisement
Advertisement

You've reached your monthly free article limit.

Get Unlimited Digital Access

4 weeks for only 99¢
Subscribe Now

Cancel Anytime

Already have digital access? Log in

Log out

Print subscriber? Activate digital access