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Police: Warrant sought for officer who mistook apartment for her own; killed neighbor

Last Updated Sep 7, 2018 2:19 PM EDT

DALLAS -- A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, police said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it.

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said at a press conference that her department is seeking a manslaughter warrant for the officer, who won't be identified until she is officially charged.  

The responding officers administered first aid to the victim, whom the Dallas County medical examiner's office identified as 26-year-old Botham Jean. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. 

The officer, who is white, will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, police said. Authorities haven't said how the officer got into Jean's home, or whether his door was open or unlocked. 

jean2.jpg

This 2014 photo shows Botham Jean speaking at Harding University. Authorities said Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, that a Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed Jean, a neighbor, after she said she mistook his apartment for her own.

Jeff Montgmery/Harding University via AP

The officer was in full uniform when she shot Jean, who was black, Hall said. Hall couldn't provide the location of the officer or whether she was in custody. Hall said the officer's blood will be tested to determine whether she had been using drugs or alcohol. She said the officer hadn't yet been questioned.

"Right now there are more questions than we have answers," Hall said. 

When officers initially responded to the scene, they began investigating the case as an officer-involved shooting, Hall said. When the circumstances "led us to another direction," she said the department invited the Texas Rangers to take over and conduct and independent investigation.

Hall said she had spoken with Jean's sister and offered the family condolences. 

Residents of the apartment complex said they can access their units with a regular key or through a keypad code.

Two 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 told The Dallas Morning News.

Yazmine Hernandez, 20, was studying with Simpson when they heard the commotion.

"We heard cops yelling, but otherwise had no idea what was going on," Hernandez said.

Jean grew up in St. Lucia and attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he often led campus worship services before graduating in 2016, the school said in a statement. 

That July, he went to work for PwC in risk assurance. In a statement released to the station, the company called his death a "terrible tragedy." 

"Botham Jean was a member of the PwC family in our Dallas office and we are simply heartbroken to hear of his death," the statement said.