CHICAGO: Hundreds packed a Texas church Thursday to mourn a young immigrant man shot dead in his own home by a Dallas cop who claimed she mistakenly entered the wrong apartment.
The memorial service for Botham Jean, who was black, took place one week after a white officer, Amber Guyger, walked into his apartment, apparently thinking it was her own.
She said she fired two shots after seeing the silhouette of a figure who didn’t respond to verbal commands, striking Jean once and killing him.
The 26-year-old man, originally from the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia, was remembered in the three-hour memorial service as a pious and positive person, ambitious in his endeavors and a beloved member of the Dallas community he had adopted as his own.
“To know Botham was to love Botham. He was the light in a dark room. Botham loved God. He loved to sing about God,” said minister Michael Griffin, who once lead a church were Jean worshipped.
“Bo made us all better. Bo didn’t see color. Bo saw love,” he said, referring to Jean by his nickname.
Jean emigrated from Saint Lucia when he was 19 and graduated in 2016 from Harding University, a private Christian college in the state of Arkansas.
He had earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and information systems, and had been working at the accounting firm PwC, also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“While I was his mentor, he touched me and he changed me,” said Harding campus minister Todd Gentry.
“May we never forget the smile and the joy, and the way he brought people together,” he said.
Officer Guyger is charged with manslaughter and could face more counts, including murder, once the investigation is complete.
Jean’s family, through an attorney, has questioned the officer’s account.
“We know that the evidence that exists contradicts this version of events, that seems to offer as little culpability for this officer as possible,” attorney Lee Merritt said at a news conference earlier in the week.
He said eyewitnesses heard banging on the door and a woman’s voice saying “Let me in.”
Authorities have not said whether race was a factor in the killing.
Protestors have tied it to the string of fatal encounters in recent years between US police and black citizens that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement. --AFP