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Dallas County DA on Botham Jean death: 'Justice is a relay race, not a 40-yard dash'

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger told investigators that Botham Jean's apartment door was unlocked.

More details are emerging about what Officer Amber Guyger said happened during her fatal encounter with Botham Jean at his South Side Flats apartment last week.

Sources close to the investigation tell WFAA that Guyger told investigators the door to Jean's apartment was unlocked. She said she entered and saw someone she believed to be a burglar. She told investigators she yelled commands, but Jean moved toward her so she fired her weapon.

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the force, was arrested on a manslaughter charge in the case Sunday. She posted $300,000 bond and was released from custody shortly after she was booked into the Kaufman County Jail.

Later Sunday night, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released a statement thanking police and the Texas Rangers for a thorough investigation that led to an arrest.

"I am grateful to Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall for her leadership and foresight in calling for the Rangers to handle the investigation to ensure there was no appearance of bias," his statement read in part.

The Rangers had taken over the investigation and obtained the manslaughter warrant from the 7th District Court in Dallas County, said Lt. Lonny Haschel, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Manslaughter vs. murder: Explaining the charge Dallas officer Amber Guyger faces

Attorneys Benjamin Crump and Lee Merritt, who are representing Jean's family, held a press conference shortly before news broke of Guyger's arrest, demanding an arrest, but they were unaware of any warrant being issued.

Crump and Merritt said they had met with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office on Sunday, bringing with them a witness in the case who shared "new evidence that we believe will change the course of this investigation."

Crump and Merritt, however, said they could not reveal details about the evidence, pending the investigation.


After working a 12-hour shift, which included overtime, Officer Guyger returned home Thursday around 10 p.m. and walked to an apartment unit she believed to be her own at the Southside Flats in the 1200 block of South Lamar.

Officer Guyger was in full uniform when she encountered Jean in the apartment, according to Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall.

It is unclear what the interaction was between Guyger and Jean, Hall said, but at some point she did fire her weapon, striking the victim.

The officer called 911 and authorities responded and took Jean to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Jean's death as a homicide noting the cause of death was a gun shot wound to the chest and abdomen.

Guyger hadn’t been questioned when Hall spoke early Friday afternoon, and Hall said no information was available about Guyger’s level of fatigue at the time of the shooting.

A blood sample was drawn from the officer to test for alcohol and drugs.

Dallas police began the investigation under normal officer-involved shooting protocol, but, after the circumstances of the shooting became clear, the Texas Rangers were tapped to lead the investigation.

“As we continued the investigation, it became clear that we were dealing with what appears to be much of a very unique situation.” said Chief Hall.

Hall acknowledged that the investigation was in its infancy early Friday afternoon.

“There are more questions than we have answers,” she said.


Texas law doesn’t formally distinguish between voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

A criminal homicide is charged as manslaughter when a person “recklessly causes the death of an individual,” according to the Texas Penal Code.

A prosecutor doesn’t have to prove intent or premeditation in order to earn a conviction.

Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.


The case is still under investigation, both by the Texas Rangers and the district attorney's office.

District Attorney Faith Johnson spoke at a news conference Monday morning and said her office is "independently" looking at the case.

"Although [Texas Rangers] are investigating, still investigating, we are doing a thorough investigation and the grand jury will be that entity that will make the final decision in the charge or charges that will come out of this case," Johnson said.

According to Johnson, the Texas Rangers investigation continues.

"No one is going to get extra credit for showing something on social media then it’s not true, let's think about the family," she said.


Shortly after Johnson spoke, attorneys Lee Merritt and Ben Crump held a press conference outside the Frank Crowley Courts Building.

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