Dallasnews.com:- A Dallas officer faces a manslaughter charge a day after she fatally shot a 26-year-old man whose apartment near downtown she apparently mistook for her own.
“This is a very unique situation,” Police Chief U. Renee Hall said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “We have ceased handling it under our normal officer-involved shooting protocol.”
The Texas Rangers have been called in to conduct an independent investigation, the chief added.
According to the St. Lucia Times, Jean was the son of Allison Jean, who has supervised the island’s Department of Education, Innovation & Gender Relations as well as the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services & Transport.
The victim’s mother was visiting her daughter in Florida when she got a call delivering the news of her son’s death.
“It just feels like a nightmare. I wish I could wake up,” Allison Jean told NBC News. “He impacted the lives of many. I’m getting calls from all over the world.”
The officer who shot Jean is a white woman, and Allison Jean said she wondered whether the outcome would have been different if her son hadn’t been black.
“I don’t want to judge her. We are Christians. We forgive,” she said. “But I need to look into her eyes and ask her why did she do that to my son.
“She took away my heart. My soul. He didn’t deserve to die.”
Allisa Charles-Findley shared her grief online at the passing of her “baby brother,” saying she was just thinking about what to buy him for his 27th birthday later this month.
“Just last week I was thinking of what to get you for your birthday,” she wrote. “Now I have to go pick out your casket. … I love you with all of my heart.”
Jean’s uncle also paid tribute to the man Friday morning on Facebook.
“My heart goes with you my boy … never thought this day would come, wanted to be there for you always my boy … how can this nasty world take you away from me,” Earl Jean wrote.
Tracy Moore, a preacher who knew Jean from a Church of Christ Caribbean lecture series, told The Christian Chronicle that Jean was powerful singer who always had “a spirit of joy that flowed from him.”
Harding University officials were mourning the beloved former worship leader at chapel services Friday morning, a university employee said.
“We’re all deeply grieved,” spokeswoman Jana Rucker said. “He was just one of those people who really stood out, with his voice and his leadership.”
Fellow Harding alum Romas Roberson said Jean’s leadership was missed at the private liberal arts school in Searcy, Ark.
“He was a great guy who loved to smile, very positive leader for the young men that we had here,” Roberson said. “Everyone loved his voice!”
Sophia Pickle, 25, studied marketing at Harding and came to know Jean well, she said.
“He was amazing. He was wonderful. He was every good thing that you can imagine,” said Pickle, a Plano resident.
Pickle remembered attending a Halloween block party with Jean during their stay at Harding.
“It’s a Christian school, so we weren’t allowed to dance, we weren’t allowed to drink or smoke,” Pickle said. “So at this block party, we just had coffee there, then he and I went to McDonald’s for milkshakes.”
Pickle said she couldn’t understand how the shooting would have been possible.
“People don’t know [Jean], so they say, ‘Oh, maybe he did something,'” she said. “If he was there in his apartment, then I guarantee he would have been respectful; he would have had his hands up.”
A written statement from PricewaterhouseCoopers said Jean’s co-workers were heartbroken by the news.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” the company said in a statement. “Botham Jean was a member of the PwC family in our Dallas office and we are simply heartbroken to hear of his death.”
It was unclear how the officer got into the wrong apartment, where residents said they can access their units with a regular key or through a keypad code.
Next-door neighbor Alyssa Kinsey said Botham Jean’s unit looked the same as everyone else’s from the outside, but did have a red half-moon-shaped rug outside the front door.
Kinsey said she has parked on the wrong floor and gotten mixed up while returning to her unit in the South Side Apartments. But, even when lost or coming home at night, she’s never felt like she had to be on alert in the hallways.
“It’s like Fort Knox in here,” Kinsey said. “It’s so safe.”
When Kinsey heard the gunshot at her neighbor’s front door Thursday night, she assumed it was a domestic dispute.
“I didn’t hear any knocking or yelling beforehand, just the shot,” she said. “And then the woman’s voice calling 911.”
Police didn’t indicate that anyone had witnessed the shooting, but two other women who live on the second floor near where the shooting happened said they heard a lot of noise late Thursday.
“It was, like, police talk: ‘Open up! Open up!'” 20-year-old Caitlin Simpson said.
Yazmine Hernandez, 20, was studying with Simpson when they heard the commotion.
“We heard cops yelling,” she said, “but otherwise had no idea what was going on.”
Other residents of the South Side Flats struggled to understand how the shooting happened.
“How can you make a mistake like that, getting into someone else’s apartment?” said 80-year-old Raquel, who has lived in the complex for less than a year. “Don’t they train police?”
The woman, who says she never gives out her last name, said she’d think twice when calling the police after this experience.
“Now if something happens to me,” she said, “I’m going to be too scared to call police because I’m afraid it will end in a tragedy.”
Tomiya Melvin lives in a nearby apartment complex and found out about the shooting while she was walking her dog in the morning.
“It’s terrible. I hope it’s just a tragic accident and nothing more than that,” said Melvin, who moved to Dallas from Chicago in June. “This area appealed to me because it always seemed so safe, and so far it has been.
“But I won’t be leaving my door unlocked anymore; that’s for sure.”