Photo credits: YouTube/WFAA-TV
Botham Shem Jean was born on September 29, 1991, in Saint Lucia. He was a Harding University alumnus and an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
On September 6, 2018, off-duty Dallas Police Department patrol officer Amber Guyger entered the Dallas, Texas, apartment of 26-year-old Jean and fatally shot him.
Guyger said that she had entered the apartment believing it was her own and that she shot Jean believing he was a burglar. Guyger was not arrested for several days, and then only charged with manslaughter, creating mistrust in the process and outrage over the killing of an unarmed black citizen. This resulted in protests and accusations of racial bias. Two months later, the charge was upgraded to murder.
Guyger’s apartment was on the third floor, directly below Jean’s apartment on the fourth floor, in an apartment building with mostly identical floor plans on each level. Guyger testified that she thought Jean’s apartment was hers, that she found the door slightly ajar, that she thought Jean – who was sitting in his darkened living room eating ice cream – was an intruder and that she feared Jean would kill her. Jean was unarmed.
After Guyger shot Jean, she called 9-1-1. Jean was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his wound. The Texas Rangers investigated the shooting, which led to Guyger’s arrest three days later.
Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter but was later charged with murder. The initial charge of manslaughter and the racial aspect of the shooting resulted in protests in the following days. The Dallas Police Department placed Guyger on paid administrative leave after the shooting. The department fired her on September 24, 2018. On October 1, 2019, Guyger was found guilty of murder.
The next day, she received a sentence of ten years in state prison. She is not eligible for parole until 2024.