DALLAS (CN) – Dallas County authorities confirmed Saturday the shooting death of a prosecution witness who disputed fired Dallas cop and convicted murderer Amber Guyger’s claims that she shouted commands before shooting Botham Jean in his apartment that she mistook for her own.
Prosecutors confirmed Joshua Brown, 28, died of gunshot wounds Friday evening at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Attorney Lee Merritt, who represents Jean’s family in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, said he was informed by the medical examiner that Brown was “shot in the mouth and chest” as he was “ambushed” at 10:30 p.m. Brown was stepping out of his car at his apartment at 4600 Cedar Springs Road near the hospital north of downtown.
“His mother asked that I do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of his murder,” Merritt posted on Facebook. “She suspects foul play and it is difficult to rule it out. He had no known enemies. He worked for a living. He was not in the streets. We need answers. Immediately.”
Merritt said Brown’s murder is indicative of “the reality of the black experience in America,” that as a black man, Brown “lived in constant feat that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise.”
Merritt added authorities have not yet identified a suspect and the case is in the hands of Dallas police.
Brown testified on day two of the nine-day trial that resulted in Guyger’s murder conviction and sentence to ten years in state prison.
Guyger erroneously parked on the fourth floor of the South Side apartments on Sept. 7, 2018, and mistook Jean’s apartment for her apartment 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.
Guyger was in uniform as she returned home after working a 15-hour shift. Jean, an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, had returned home minutes earlier and was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream in boxer shorts in front of his television when Guyger shot him.
Jurors declined to convict Guyger on a lesser charge of manslaughter. She had faced up to life in state prison.
Brown lived across the hall from Jean at the time of the shooting. Brown 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 “hey, put your hands up” or “show me your hands.”
Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus praised Brown after his death for “bravely coming forward” and testifying when others would not.
“If we had more people like him, we would have a better world,” Hermus told The Dallas Morning News.