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From [HERE] A white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her neighbor in his apartment, claiming she mistook the unit for her own, told the authorities that the door was already ajar when she entered and that she shot him after he ignored verbal commands, according to court records released on Monday.
The officer, Amber R. Guyger, 30, who has been charged with manslaughter, could face additional charges in a case that has led to accusations that the officer received preferential treatment and debate about whether race may have played a role in the deadly encounter between a white police officer and a black man in his home.
On Monday, the Dallas County district attorney, Faith Johnson, insisted that the investigation into the death of the neighbor, Botham Shem Jean, 26, had not ended and that her office could seek charges “including anything from murder to manslaughter.”
“We’ll present a thorough case to the grand jury so that a right decision can be made,” Ms. Johnson said at a news conference.
Dallas has been gripped by rising tensions since Thursday night, when, the police said, Officer Guyger returned to her apartment complex after a shift in full uniform at about 10 p.m. and shot Mr. Jean in his home.
Officer Guyger, who lives in a unit directly underneath Mr. Jean’s, parked her car on the wrong floor of the parking garage and walked to what she thought was her apartment, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. She inserted her electronic key into the door, which was already ajar. Inside the dark apartment, she saw a “large silhouette” that she believed to be a burglar, the affidavit said.
She gave “verbal commands” before firing her weapon twice, striking him once in the chest, the authorities said. The affidavit did not detail the nature of her commands, or how much time passed before shots were fired.
The police have not disclosed any information as to whether the apartment owner did anything to pose an imminent danger to Guyger that would reasonably necessitate using deadly force.
It’s unclear why Mr. Jean’s door may have been ajar. The authorities asked permission to examine Mr. Jean’s cellphone and laptop to see whether he may have been expecting a visitor, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Mr. Jean’s family, challenged several aspects of the officer’s account, including her claim that the door was ajar. He said witnesses had told the district attorney’s office that they heard banging on the door and a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in.”
Even if Officer Guyger did mistake the apartment — which has a distinctive red doormat outside — for her own, he said, there is no indication that Mr. Jean acted aggressively to make the officer fear for her life.
“It would be irresponsible to rely on this extremely bizarre, self-serving affidavit,” said Mr. Merritt, who has also questioned why the authorities did not immediately arrest Officer Guyger.
Questions about how the case was being handled only intensified after Officer Guyger was allowed to turn herself in to the authorities in Kaufman County, a mostly rural county southeast of Dallas, and be booked at a jail farther away.
“We don’t want it lost on anyone that, had this been a regular citizen, she would have never left the crime scene,” Mr. Merritt said.