DALLAS (CN) – Dallas police on Tuesday named three suspects in the shooting death of a prosecution witness in the murder trial of former cop Amber Guyger, denying police were involved and saying his killing is not connected to the closely watched case.
Assistant Chief Avery Moore identified Louisiana residents Jacquerious Mitchell, 20, Michael Mitchell, 32, and Thaddeous Green, 22, as suspects.
Joshua Brown, 28, was found shot in the parking lot of his apartment north of downtown Dallas near Parkland Memorial Hospital late Friday in an apparent drug deal gone bad.
Speculation on social media immediately blamed police for the death as retaliation for Brown testifying against Guyger days earlier. The former office was convicted of murdering her neighbor and given a 10-year prison sentence.
Moore said Jacquerious was shot and injured by Brown during the attack, adding he is currently in critical condition and in custody. Michael and Green are still at large.
“Thaddeous Green was the facilitator and he is the one who contacted Mr. Brown,” Moore told reporters Tuesday. “As they drove to the offense location, Thaddeous Green gets out of the vehicle, has a conversation with Joshua Brown, which escalates to a physical altercation at which time Jacquerious Mitchell gets out of the vehicle and states Joshua Brown orders him back into the vehicle and shoots him in the chest. As he is laying in the vehicle, he hears two more gunshots. He says Thaddeus Green shoots Joshua Brown two times.”
Moore said Brown was shot twice in his lower body, according to autopsy results.
Police say they received “numerous tips” that led to a search warrant and the confiscation of 12 pounds of marijuana, 149 grams of THC cartridges and over $4,000 in cash from Brown’s apartment.
“We need your assistance in capturing these fugitives,” Dallas police tweeted Tuesday. “If anyone knows their whereabouts, please call 214-373-TIPS or 214-671-3690. The suspects are considered armed and dangerous.”
Police denied as false “rumors shared by community leaders” that Brown’s death was related to his testimony and police are at fault.
“We encourage those leaders to be mindful because their words may jeopardize the integrity of the city of Dallas and DPD,” Moore said.
Brown testified on day two of Guyger’s nine-day murder trial for the killing of Botham Jean, 26.
Guyger erroneously parked on the fourth floor of the South Side apartments on Sept. 7, 2018, and mistook Jean’s apartment for her own that was on the third floor. She entered the ajar door before firing into the dark at what she believed was an intruder, striking Jean in the chest.
Brown lived across the hall from Jean at the time of the shooting. He wept as he testified that he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” in the hallway, then two gunshots.
He said it sounded “kind of like two voices mixed together” immediately before the shots were fired. Brown said no when asked if he heard police commands such as “put your hands up” or “show me your hands.”
Attorney Lee Merritt said on behalf of Brown’s family that they want police to turn over his murder investigation to an “alternate investigative agency” due to the “proximity” of his death to Guyger’s trial.
“It will be nearly impossible to conduct a reliable investigation in a climate where the investigating agency has been implicated in the murder itself,” Merritt posted Tuesday on Facebook. “That implication naturally stems from a trial where a Dallas police officer was convicted of murder and other DPD officers were shown to have participated in condemnable behavior in destroying evidence and interfering with the investigation.”
During Guyger’s trial, police were accused of showing her favoritism after Jean’s death by refusing to immediately arrest her and for cutting off audio recordings in police cruisers.