Did Amber Guyger kill Botham Shem Jean over noise? Family lawyer sees link
“The only connection we have been able to make is that she was his immediate downstairs neighbor,” family attorney S. Lee Merritt told CNN.
An attorney for Botham Shem Jean, who was shot and killed by an off-duty cop who entered his apartment, said so far there’s only one thing that connects his client to the accused Dallas cop—Amber Guyger lived one floor directly above Jean’s door.
“The only connection we have been able to make is that she was his immediate downstairs neighbor,” family attorney S. Lee Merritt told CNN host Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday.
“And there were noise complaints from the immediate downstairs neighbors about whoever was upstairs, and that would have been Botham. In fact, there were noise complaints that very day about upstairs activity in Botham’s apartment. Botham received a phone call about noise coming from his apartment from the downstairs neighbor.”
But everything else Guyger has since claimed in an affidavit surrounding the details of how she came in contact with the 26-year-old accountant is self-serving and “much of the affidavit doesn’t comport with common sense,” Merritt said. “Certain statements are demonstratively false.”
Guyger as the white police officer who allegedly shot Jean after she entered his apartment by mistake.
An arrest affidavit prepared by a Texas Ranger was released Monday, providing a narrative of what happened. It appeared to be based almost entirely on the officer’s account.
Guyger told investigators that she had just ended a 15-hour shift Thursday when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.
When she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, the affidavit said.
Merritt believes Guyger’s narrative about a “slightly ajar” door is a false one.
Merritt described Jean as a meticulous accountant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, “somebody who is intentional in everything that they do. He doesn’t prop doors open when they’re expecting guests. He wasn’t expecting any guests,” he told CNN.
He said two witnesses reported hearing a ruckus. “Both heard a knock or pounding… They heard pounding followed by a female voice saying open up, let me in, not a command by an officer,” he explained. Then he said they heard gunshots, followed by a male voice saying, “oh my God, why did you do that!”
Inside, the lights were off, Guyger said she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to the officer’s account.
The officer told police that she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, which ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.
She called 911 and, when asked where she was, returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit.
Authorities have not released any 911 tapes related to the shooting.
Merritt does not accept the arrest document’s narrative.
A private viewing and funeral are scheduled to be held at noon Thursday, September 13 in Richardson, Texas for friends and family only. A subsequent service will be held in Saint Lucia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.