News Americas, DALLAS, Texas, Fri. Sept. 14, 2018: Hundreds filed into the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas at noon on Thursday, September 13th to pay their final respects to murdered Caribbean immigrant, St. Lucia-born Botham Shem Jean.
Among those joining Jean’s family and friends at the service was Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall.
Mourners filed past his casket, which was kept open at the Church of Christ while a slide show of his life was played. The words ‘going home’ were embroidered into the lining of the coffin.
The service was opened by Pastor Michael Griffin, who told the congregation: “Bo made us all better. He didn’t see color, he saw love.”
His father, Bertrum Jean told those gathered that his son was a man of God and gave heartfelt thank yous to the many people who had loved and cared for him like their own family here in America.
While his uncle Ignatius gave a stirring speech, focusing directly on his nephew’s untimely and violent death. In his powerful speech, he struck out saying: “The sound of the gunshots did not have the resonance to be heard on our small island… but a nuke had been unleashed on our family by someone supposed to serve and protect. It was unleashed on a prince of the people, the prince of love. Our prince was snatched from us, he was snatched by the quick to trigger finger of one who was trained to protect and serve.”
The funeral came as there seems to be more questions than answers about the death of the 26-year-old black immigrant who was shot dead in his apartment in Dallas, Texas by 30-year-old, four-year police veteran, Amber Guyger on September 6th.
Thursday’s funeral was the first for Jean. A second will be held later in the Caribbean island of his birth where he will be buried.
THE OFFICER IN THE SHOOTING
The fatal shooting happened last Thursday night at the South Side Flats, apartments where both Jean and Police Officer Amber Guyger, a four-year department veteran assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division, lived.
Details of the incident outlined in the arrest warrant say Guyger arrived home from her shift with the Dallas Police Department and parked her car on the fourth-floor parking garage. The parking garage level corresponds to the level the resident lives on; Guyger lives on the third floor, according to the affidavit.
Guyger then walked into the building and to what she believed was her apartment door where she inserted her key. The door, the affidavit said, was partially ajar and fully opened under the force of the key insertion.
The door being opened alerted the resident, 26-year-old Botham Jean, who Guyger then saw as a silhouette moving through the darkened apartment.
According to the affidavit, Guyger, believing her apartment was being robbed, drew her firearm and “gave verbal commands that were ignored” by Jean.
She then fired her gun twice, striking Jean once in the chest and once in the abdomen.
Guyger then entered the apartment and called 911 while providing first aid to Jean. According to the affidavit, while on the phone with 911, Guyger turned on the lights inside the apartment and only then realized she was not in her own home.
When dispatchers asked her for her location, Guyger went into the hallway to check the address and confirmed she was at apartment 1478; Guyger’s residence is one floor below, directly beneath Jean’s residence.
Dallas Fire-Rescue EMS transported Jean to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he later died.
A Dallas Police Department search warrant carried out Friday offers a narrative with some different details.
That stated that Officer Guyger encountered Jean “at the door” and a neighbor allegedly heard an exchange of words prior to hearing gunfire.
The Jean family attorney said the account in the arrest warrant affidavit is “completely inconsistent with the evidence” presented to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office Sunday. That evidence is a witness who did not see the shooting and a video that Merritt has not yet shared with the media.
The witness claims she heard knocking on the door and a female voice saying: “Let me in.” And then heard the door opening and gunshots as a male voice SAID: “Oh my God, why did you do that?”
Guyger was only arrested on Sunday on a manslaughter charge. She was released from the Kaufman County Jail on Sunday evening after posting a $300,000 bond.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said Monday that the manslaughter charge against Guyger could be upgraded when her office presents the case to a grand jury.
Jean is survived by his mother Allison, a former permanent secretary in St. Lucia, his dad Bertrum and their two surviving children Brandt and Allisa.