Dallas, TX – The Dallas Police Chief is walking back on her Friday comments that a warrant was being issued for the officer who fatally shot a man she mistakenly believed was in her apartment on Thursday night.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall initially made the announcement that they were getting a warrant, just minutes after the case had been turned over to the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers requested that the warrant not be issued until they actually had a chance to investigate.
The shooting occurred after 10 p.m. on Sept. 6, as the officer returned home to her apartment in the Southside Flats apartment complex, in the 1200-block of South Lamar, after working a full shift, KTVT reported.
Investigators said that the officer had just gotten off-duty and was still in uniform.
A Dallas police officer told KXAS-TV that the officer had just finished spending 14 hours serving warrants in high crime areas when she took the apartment elevator to the wrong floor.
She then tried to unlock an apartment door which she thought was hers, but the key didn't work. As she was struggling with the key, 26-year-old Botham Jean opened the door to the apartment wearing only his underwear.
Believing that she was dealing with an intruder in her apartment, the officer shot him.
Chief Hall held a press conference on Friday afternoon “clear up inconsistencies” that were being reported about the incident, and to announce that her department was seeking a warrant for the officer’s arrest.
However, the chief indicated at the time that the investigation had just been turned over to the Texas Rangers, and that the Rangers had not yet begun investigating.
“We have also invited the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent investigation," Chief Hall told reporters. “They have just arrived a moment ago and they are currently being briefed.”
A reporter asked the chief if her department was also investigating the incident, and she complimented her agency’s detectives but said it was entirely in the hands of the Texas Rangers.
"Right now there are more questions than we have answers," Chief Hall told reporters.
"Last night, a female Dallas police officer returned to what she believed to be her apartment after her shift ended – she was still in uniform when she encountered Mr. Jean in the apartment," the chief explained.
“It’s not clear what interaction was between them… but at some point, she fired her weapon, striking the victim,” she said.
The chief said the officer immediately called 911, and that police responded to the apartment complex in about four minutes.
Jean was transported to the hospital by ambulance where he later died, she said.
"At the very early stages of this investigation – initial indications were that we were dealing with an officer-involved shooting. However, as we continued this investigation it became clear that we were dealing with what appears to be much of a very unique situation,” Chief Hall said, without offering any additional details of the incident. “Therefore, we have ceased handling it under our normal officer-involved shooting protocol.
The chief said her department was seeking a warrant for manslaughter “based on what we know right now.”
"A blood sample was drawn to test the officer’s level for drugs or alcohol, and at my request, we are in the process of obtaining a warrant based on the circumstances that we have right now,” Chief Hall said.
The chief refused to provide the officer’s name but did tell reporters that she was a Caucasian female who worked as a patrol officer. She said the officer had not yet been questioned.
“We will release the officer’s name once she has been officially charged,” the chief said.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office will also be involved in the investigation, KTVT reported.