DALLAS – In the days since the fatal shooting of Botham Jean in his own apartment, part of the conversation has been around a May 2017 officer-involved shooting involving the same Dallas cop, Amber Guyger.
Sixteen months before Guyger claims she went to the wrong apartment and mistook Jean for a burglar, she fired her weapon during a physical altercation with a drug offender.
On May 12, 2017, undercover officers tipped off police that a wanted woman may have been at a home in the 8300 block of Reva Street in eastern Dallas, according to a police bulletin. Officers believed the woman was in the passenger seat of a car at the home, along with two other people.
Despite officers’ “repeated” demands to stay in the car, a man in the back seat got out of the car and “engaged in a physical confrontation” with officers, according to the bulletin. When he took one of the officer’s Taser, Guyger pulled out her gun and shot the suspect, who was later identified as then-46-year-old Uvaldo Perez.
It wasn’t clear if Perez took Guyger’s Taser or one belonging to another officer.
Perez was taken to the hospital in what was said to be “stable” condition, though he stayed in the hospital for at least three days after the shooting.
Perez was charged with taking an officer’s weapon – a felony – as well as possession of meth and possession of marijuana.
While it's unusual in the event of a non-fatal officer-involved shooting, Guyger's 2017 case was sent to a grand jury after an internal affairs investigation. She was no-billed, meaning she was cleared of any criminal charges in the case.
Fast forward to September of 2018, and Guyger is facing a manslaughter charge for the death of Botham Jean.
An arrest warrant affidavit alleges the shooting was a tragic accident in which Guyger, thinking she had arrived at her apartment after a 13-and-a-half-hour work day, saw the door slightly ajar and thought a figure inside the apartment was a burglar. She claims she yelled commands at Jean and shot him when he advanced toward her.
Attorneys for Jean’s family refute the affidavit, citing witnesses who’ve claimed to have heard Guyger pounding on the door and asking to be let in.
Dallas police handed the investigation over to the Texas Rangers, who determined a manslaughter charge was warranted in the case. It’s now in the hands of Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, who has promised “justice” in Jean's death.
“We’re going to unravel whatever we need to unravel," she said. "We’re going to un-turn whatever we need to un-turn. And we’re going to present a full case to the grand jury of Dallas County. Believe me, we will make sure that justice is done in this case.”
Guyger is on administrative leave during the investigation.