DALLAS (CN) – Dallas police said Friday afternoon that an off-duty white female cop who mistook another apartment for her own will face manslaughter charges for shooting and killing the black man inside.
Police Chief U. Renee Hall told reporters of the pending charges at a press conference, saying the shooting took place late Thursday night at the South Side Flats luxury apartment complex just south of downtown. It is located near Dallas’ police headquarters.
The victim was identified as Botham Shem Jean, 26, of St. Lucia. The unnamed officer was returning home after working a 12-hour shift.
“A female police officer returned to what she believed to be her apartment after her shift had ended,” Hall said. “She was still in her uniform when she encountered Mr. Jean in the apartment. It is not clear what interaction was between them.”
Hall said the officer called 911 after shooting Jean and that officers responded in four minutes. Jean later died at Baylor University Medical Center. She said it became clear as the investigation unfolded that this was a “very unique situation” above an officer-involved shooting, resulting in her department ceasing its investigation and asking for the Texas Rangers to conduct their own investigation.
“Under our own officer-involved shooting protocol, blood was drawn to test the officer for drugs or alcohol,” she said.
The police chief added that she has spoken to Jean’s family, expressed her condolences and “reassured them that we are working diligently and have invited an outside agency” to investigate.
Hall declined to identify the officer, a five-year veteran of the force, until she is formally charged. The officer has yet to be interviewed and has been placed on administrative leave, according to police officials.
She also declined to answer questions as to how the officer was able to enter the apartment or if she thought Jean was an intruder.
“Right now there are more questions than we have answers,” Hall said. “We understand the concerns of this community and that is why we are working as vigorously and as meticulously as we can to ensure the integrity of this case.”
Jean’s uncle, Earl, mourned his nephew on Friday, saying “this is the worst day of my life.”
“How can this nasty world take you away from me,” he posted on Facebook. “I am lost for words … part of me has left! Gone with the angels … lord keep me sane.”
Jean’s employer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said his death “is a terrible tragedy.”
“Botham Jean was a member of the PwC family in our Dallas office and we are simply heartbroken to hear of his death,” the company tweeted Friday.
Jean was an alumnus of Harding University, a Christian school in Searcy, Arkansas, graduating in 2016. The school said he frequently led chapel worship and campus events.
“The entire Harding family grieves today for the loss of Botham, who has meant so very much to us,” the school posted on Facebook. “Please join us in praying for Botham’s friends and family and for all who were touched by his extraordinary life.”