Witness in Amber Guyger Trial Fatally Shot
|thenorthstar||Oct 8, 2019|
A key witness who testified against a former Dallas police officer in Botham Jean’s murder trial was shot dead in his apartment complex, the Dallas Police Department said.
Joshua Brown, Botham Jean’s neighbor, was shot dead on October 4, police said in a statement. On October 4, authorities responded to a shooting call at ATERA apartments located at 4606 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas, Texas and found Brown, 28, lying on the ground of his apartment building’s parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds in his lower body. There were several witnesses who reported seeing “a silver four-door sedan leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed,” according to police.
Brown was taken to a local hospital where he died of his injuries and a medical examiner identified his body the following morning.
“There are no suspects or motives at this time. We are committed to solving this case and will work diligently to apprehend the individuals responsible for Brown’s death,” Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall said in a statement.
Brown lived in the same apartment complex as Jean and former police officer Amber Guyger when Guyger shot Jean in his apartment last year, according to CNN. Brown, who lived across the hall from Jean, was a key witness during the murder trial because of his proximity to the crime and his observations on Guyger’s behavior after the shooting.
During his testimony, Brown said he met Jean the day he was killed, CNN reported. The night he was killed, Brown said he was down the hall when he heard two people meeting by “surprise,” and then heard gunshots. Following the gunshots, Brown said he saw Guyger come into the hallway from Jean’s apartment and was on the phone, "crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she came into the wrong apartment," Brown testified.
Guyger claimed she had shouted commands to Jean before shooting him, but Brown said he never heard her orders, Jean’s family attorney, Lee Merritt, wrote on Facebook.
Brown’s testimony helped convict Guyger, 31, who was found guilty of murdering Jean and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The jury delivered the guilty verdict at around 10:30 a.m on October 1, The Dallas Morning News previously reported.
Following the news of Brown’s death, Merritt wrote on Facebook that during the trial, Brown “was still visibly shaken up from the incident when he took the stand to testify on behalf of the prosecution.”
“His murder underscores the reality of the Black experience in America. A former athlete turned entrepreneur — Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise,” Merritt wrote.
“We have more work to do deal with the constant threats to our community both from within and without. Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family.”
Many Democratic politicians used Twitter following the news of Brown’s death to demand justice.
“Just when we caught a glimpse of justice for Botham Jean, much of it feels stolen back with the murder of Joshua Brown, a key witness in the case,” US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter on October 6. “My heart breaks for his family and for everyone touched by this tragedy. We must get to the bottom of this injustice.”
Democratic presidential candidates such as Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro have also demanded answers regarding Brown’s death.
“Joshua Brown bravely stood up to injustice and helped put Amber Guyger behind bars. Three days later, he was murdered by an unknown assailant,” Castro wrote on Twitter. “We grieve with his family and friends, and demand a transparent investigation the people of Dallas can trust.”
“I’m heartsick for Joshua Brown’s family and friends. He bravely stepped forward and testified to bring some justice for Botham Jean, and peace for his family. We need answers — and Joshua Brown and his family need justice,” Warren wrote.
The Dallas Police Department Homicide Unit is urging those with any information about Brown’s murder to contact Detective Jacob White at (214) 671-3690 or by email at email@example.com using the case number 202433-2019.
Houston businessman Bill Perkins is also offering a $100,000 reward on information that leads to discovering the person or people involved in Brown’s death, WGME reported.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer forThe North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.