The jury at the trial for Amber Guyger, the Dallas police officer who went into a man’s apartment and shot him dead, heard the 911 call that Guyger made after shooting 26-year-old Botham Jean on Sept. 2018.
Guyger, 31, has said the shooting was accidental because she thought she had entered her own apartment and mistook Jean for an intruder. She lived one floor below Jean. She was charged with murder on Nov. 30.
The jury heard the 911 call in court on Sept. 24. Guyger listened and shed some tears as it was played.
“I’m an off-duty officer. I thought I was in my apartment, and I shot a guy thinking it was my apartment,” she said in the call.
“Oh my God, I thought it was my apartment. [Expletive]!,” she added before repeating “I thought it was my apartment” over and over again.
“I thought it was my apartment,” Guyger said as she breathed heavily during the call. “I could’ve sworn I parked on the third floor.”
Officer Michael Lee was the first officer on the scene and jurors watched as he ran up four flights of stairs before finding Jean’s apartment. Lee attempted to resuscitate Jean but to no avail.
Lee was placed on the stand and asked by a prosecutor about a hypothetical burglary situation in which an officer found a burglary happening and saw someone inside a residence.
“You have two choices,” lead prosecutor Jason Hermus said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I want you to presume that you can safely … reposition to a position of cover and concealment. You have that option. Or you can just shoot them dead and worry about that later. What do you do?”
“Cover and concealment,” Lee answered. “Is that because of the sanctity of human life?” Hermus asked him.
“Yes, sir,” Lee said.
Prosecutors said Guyger parked on the wrong floor of the apartment complex and didn’t see several signs she was about to enter the wrong apartment, including a bright red door mat that Jean had outside his door and the smell of marijuana in his residence.
“For her errors, for her omissions, … [Jean] paid the ultimate price,” Hermus said.
Robert Rogers, Guyger’s lawyer, said his client made a mistake.
“She’s thinking ‘Oh, my God. There’s an intruder in my apartment’ and she’s face-to-face with him,” he said, reported Fox 4. “She’s within ten yards of him and he starts approaching her. And she reacts like any police officer would, who has a gun with confronting a burglary suspect.”
Dallas Police Department Chief Renee Hall said last year that Guyger was in her uniform after finishing her shift when she arrived at the apartment building.
The trial started about a week after a judge denied a change of venue request.
Jean, a native of the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, was a 2016 graduate of Harding University in Arkansas and was interning at PricewaterhouseCoopers at the time of his death.
Jean was active in campus affairs, leading a men’s social club and interning at the campus ministry of the Christian-faith-based college.