DALLAS - There are two mystery witnesses coming forward who are contradicting the Dallas police officer’s account of the night she walked into the wrong apartment and fatally shot a man.
Moments before 26-year-old Botham Jean was shot and killed Thursday night by off-duty DPD Officer Amber Guyger, two women say they heard banging and shouts of "Let me in."
The two witnesses are sisters. They told their contradictory story to the civil attorneys representing Jean's family. They will now tell their stories to investigators trying to gather all the information they can to present a full picture of what happened to a grand jury.
The Dallas County DA’s Office and the Texas Rangers will interview the two women who we are told have a different account of what happened before Jean was shot in his apartment by Guyger, who says she thought she was at her apartment encountering a burglar.
“These are independent witnesses,” said Ben Crump, an attorney for the Jean family. “They don’t have a dog in this fight.”
Cell phone video of Officer Guyger that night shows her pacing on the phone after the shooting. The video was taken by the women who did not go to police or Texas Rangers initially but took their story to Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family.
“Said she heard pounding at the door, and she heard ‘Let me in.’ Shouted ‘Let me in’ at an elevated tone,” Merritt said. “She heard more pounding at the door. And then shortly thereafter, she heard gunshots.”
However, that is not the narrative of the evidentiary search warrant or Guyger's own sworn statement to the Texas Rangers.
Guyger told investigators she thought she was walking into her apartment on the third floor that night and inserted her electronic door key into the keyhole. In actuality, she was at Botham Jean’s apartment on the fourth floor, which was right above her apartment.
In her statement, Guyger said Jean’s door was slightly ajar and unlocked. She managed to get into his apartment even when she inserted the wrong key, the arrest warrant says. Once she went into the nearly completely dark room, Jean went to see who had walked into his apartment.
“Believing she had encountered a burglar, which was described as a large silhouette, across the room in her apartment; Guyger drew her firearm, gave verbal commands that were ignored by Complainant Jean,” the arrest warrant said.
Jean was shot once in the chest by Gugyer and later died at the hospital.
“It’s very unusual to have an officer in uniform and the shooting occur immediately after they are off duty. Very unusual,” said Russell Wilson, a former prosecutor who investigated police shootings.
Guyger is now charged with manslaughter in Jean's killing. She was arrested Sunday and was later released within a few hours after posting a $300,000 bond.
“I think manslaughter is the correct charge,” Wilson said. “I think it is an appropriate charge based on the information obtained in the probable cause affidavit. Of course, if there’s more information later on, those charges could change or be adjusted.”
Attorney Geoff Henley is not involved in this case, but he has represented people in many excessive force cases including police shootings. He says there is no question in his mind that Guyger was reckless in her actions.
“Manslaughter is recklessly causing the death of another,” Henley said. “It was a series of things that this woman did that was absolutely errors that built upon themselves and escalated to a horrific and tragic end.”
The district attorney's office has no timetable for taking the case to the grand jury, but the sit-down interview with the two women could come this week.
Guyger's lead attorney tells FOX 4 he is trying to assemble a team to represent her and is not yet ready to make any public statements.
Warrant: Dallas officer thought Botham Jean was burglar who ignored ‘verbal commands'
Protesters march through Dallas, demand murder charge
Dallas County DA promises to fully investigate off-duty cop who shot neighbor dead