A police officer walked into a man's apartment - mistaking it for her own - and killed him, police say
A police officer in Dallas shot and killed a man she thought was in her apartment - except it wasn't actually her apartment, authorities said.
After her shift ended Thursday night, Sept. 6, the officer mistakenly entered the wrong apartment, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall told reporters Friday afternoon. The man who lived there - identified as 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean - was home when the officer entered. It's unclear exactly what happened next, Hall said, but the officer fired her weapon.
The officer called 911, and Dallas Fire Rescue rushed the man to the hospital. He died shortly after.
Reporters pressed the police chief about the officer's mental state when she entered the apartment at 1210 S. Lamar St. in Dallas - was she fatigued, or under the influence? - but Hall did not want to speculate. The chief could not even say where the woman is, or whether she is in custody. The officer, who has not yet been publicly identified, has been placed on administrative leave, authorities said.
"Right now there are more questions than we have answers," Hall said. She added that "as we continued the investigation it became clear that we were dealing with what appears to be a very unique situation."
The case was initially being investigated as an officer-involved shooting, in part because the woman was still in uniform; now the department is trying to get a warrant for manslaughter, Hall said, adding that investigators took a blood sample from the officer to test for drugs and alcohol.
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office is investigating the incident and the Texas Rangers will be conducting an parallel investigation, Hall said.
So far this year, at least 694 people have been shot and killed by police, according to a Washington Post database on police-involved shootings. However, those cases involve officers who were on duty at the time of the shootings.
Jean was from Saint Lucia, a small Caribbean island, according to his Facebook page. He graduated in 2015 from Harding University, where he studied accounting and was known for his powerful singing voice, the Christian Chronicle reported. He often led the singing at the university chapel.
Harding President Bruce McClarty remembered how he once asked Jean to lead the chapel in a hymn that Jean had never heard before, according to reporting from the Christian Chronicle. Jean went home and called his grandmother in Saint Lucia; she taught it to him over the phone, from thousands of miles away. When he returned that night, he sang the song with grace and poise, as though he'd always known it.
One of Jean's uncles, Earl Jean, took to Facebook to remember his nephew. Alongside photos of the young man grinning in a suit and hanging out with his family, clinking glasses in a kitchen, Earl said it was the worst day of his life.
"How can this nasty world take you away from me," Earl wrote. "Lord, keep me sane."
Jean worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, an international company that does assurance, tax and advisory work for companies around the world.
"This is a terrible tragedy," the company said in a statement. "Botham Jean was a member of the PwC family in our Dallas office, and we are simply heartbroken to hear of his death."
This article was written by Lindsey Bever and Taylor Telford, reporters for The Washington Post.