Friends, family & strangers remember victim shot by off-duty DPD officer

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Dallas Police officially identified an officer Saturday night, nearly 48 hours after she shot and killed a man in his own apartment, which she reportedly mistook for her own home.

Officer Amber Guyger has not been charged. Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall announced Saturday morning that the Texas Rangers asked her to hold off on her plans for a manslaughter charge while they investigate the shooting that left 26-year-old Botham Jean dead.

Police say Officer Guyger had just finished her 12-hour shift Thursday night when she tried to enter an apartment unit at the South Side Flats, just blocks from the police headquarters in The Cedars. She opened fire when she encountered Jean in his apartment. 

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says the shooting death is a very serious situation for the City of Dallas.

"Believe me, anyone that questions whether we will get to the truth, there should be no doubters. We will find out what happened.”

Mayor Rawlings also described Jean as a young professional and man of faith who was "exactly the sort of citizen we want to have." 

Jean’s family says he was extremely involved in his church, Dallas West Church of Christ. They held a vigil for him there Saturday.

Jean’s family says they wanted the focus of the vigil to be on the man he was, not the politics or speculation around his death. They chose to memorialize him as the youth pastor, terrific singer, good friend and loving son he was.

Addressing the crowd just two days after her son’s untimely death, Allison Jean shared fond memories, even making the crowd laugh at times.

“Botham never saw color, he never saw race. Botham wanted all of us to unite, to be together,” she said.

Allison Jean told stories of her son’s determination to go away from his home of St. Lucia to attend school at Harding University in Arkansas.

“Botham went to Harding and he ran for school president, and I said to him, ‘My little black boy, how are you going into,’ excuse me, but, ‘a white man town, and run?’ He said, ‘Mom, I have to do what I have to do.’”

Along with the happy memories, there was also a great sadness in the crowd.

“I never thought I'd be here, but in his short life, he lived life, and he loved life. He loved people, and he loved the Lord,” said Jean’s friend, Todd Gentry. “Botham took an extra sandwich and sometimes extra things to share with those people in his school that didn't have them, and that's who he was.”

Residents at Jean’s apartment complex remembered him as well, with a vigil and a memorial at his doorstep.

Many questions remain about his death and the investigation surrounding it. 

“When we're not fully transparent, when the investigation is wrapped in a shroud of mystery, when we're not treating the suspect like any other suspect, it leads people to speculate,” said Jean family attorney Lee Merritt.

The family also says it wants to keep the record straight, that Botham and the officer who shot him did not know each other.

“We have nothing to substantiate, those claims. Certainly no one who has been attached to the family or any law enforcement officers we've spoken to can confirm that, in fact they've said just the opposite,” said Merritt.

Despite the unanswered questions, Botham’s family remains determined as ever.

“As you all know there are times when you feel like giving up. I could not give up because of Botham, and right now in his death, I can never give up,” said his mother.

A protest outside DPD Headquarters is planned for Monday. Funeral services for Jean are set for Thursday at noon.