More often than not, we wish and even pray hard that some news would just turn out to be false; that it never happened and was probably a joke. However, more than we would anticipate good tidings at all time, the unpleasant ones are found sandwiched between them. That is life, some may conclude, while others bemoan how cruel it is. The fate of the young successful businessman, Botham Jean who was hanging out in his apartment where he met his untimely death, would, however, leave many wondering, is that it?
Ultimately, those who blame the cruel hands of fate cannot be blamed, especially Jean’s folks whose treasure was taken when they least expected it. Also, an alleged attempt by the cops to smear his reputation by staging a search in his home is also seen as the height of injustice. Nevertheless, let us not draw conclusions yet. Here’s what we know about Botham Jean, life and death.
Botham Jean’s Biography
He was born sometime in 1992 in the capital city, Castries of the Eastern Carribean Island of Saint Lucia and named Bothan Shem Jean. After successfully completing his high school, he moved to the United States where he attended the Harding University, a private Christian school in Searcy, Arkansas. He later became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
In Harding, Botham, affectionately called Bo, served as a worship leader and resident assistant and was also a member of the Good News Singers, an acapella group that performs spiritual songs for churches. He graduated with a degree in Accountancy and Management Information Systems in 2016. Bo also attended Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and St. Mary’s College according to his Facebook profile.
Following his graduation, he moved to Dallas and worked as a risk assurance associate for audit and consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. He was also a successful businessman. Bo was known for his outgoing personality and magnetic leadership qualities, as such, he helmed several youth organizations and relished helping others. He was a vibrant and active youth member of the Dallas West Church of Christ.
His life was suddenly snuffed out like a candle in the wind and his dreams which included becoming Saint Lucian’s prime minister, forever shut with that bang and smoke from an off-duty officer’s gun in an unthinkable tragedy on September 6, 2018. He was shot by a Dallas police officer identified as Amber Rene Guyger, in the sanctuary he called home, who said she mistook his apartment for hers.
Family – Parents, Siblings
Botham was born the middle child to Bertram Jean and Allison Jean. His father was a store supervisor for Water and Sewerage Company Inc., known as WASCO while his mother is a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development.
His siblings include an older sister, Allisa Charles-Findley and younger brother, Brandt Jean. Botham’s uncles include Ignatius Jean, the CEO of the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association Inc. (CAWASA) and former government Minister and Parliamentarian and Earl Jean, who played professional soccer in Europe and on the island’s national team.
They took to different platforms to express their grief. Botham’s sister posted on Facebook that instead of a birthday gift which she was contemplating on what to buy a week before his death, it will now be to go and pick his casket. His mother wished that the whole event would turn out to be a nightmare, one she could wake up from. She called Botham her heart, soul and everything.
Was Botham Jean Married? Wife or Girlfriend
He was not married and did not leave any known girlfriend behind. There were rumors that the deceased knew and had a relationship with the officer who shot him. However, his family put the rumor to rest by stating that their son and brother neither knew nor had any relationship with the said officer. The family is still at lost as to what actually happened that night.
Although the circumstances surrounding the death of Botham Jean wouldn’t make sense to any parent, Allison Jean does not judge the officer. Being a Christian, she reenacted what she has learned and lived by – forgiveness – but hopes that justice would take its full course.
Botham Jean’s Death: Here’s What We Know
Botham Jean’s killing in his own apartment has drawn worldwide attention. The fact that he is an innocent black man killed by a white police officer has further aggravated the issue. The tragedy has been a rallying cry for advocates against police brutality against black men, although it is not known whether race played a role in Jean’s death.
The unfortunate accident happened on the night of September 6, 2018, in South Side Flats, Dallas.
Officer Mistook His Apartment For Hers
Guyger, 30, who has been in the police service for 4 years and worked in patrol returned from work a little before 10 pm after working a shift. She parked her car on the fourth floor even though her apartment was on the third floor, went down the hall and went into Jean’s apartment mistaking it for her own. She tried to use her key fob which has an electronic chip to open the apartment but discovered it was already ajar, and unlit.
Then she saw the large silhouette across the room, thinking it was a burglar, and opened fire. She fired her handgun twice after Jean allegedly ignored her commands, striking him once in the chest. She killed her neighbor, the man who actually lived there. Guyger then turns on the light, saw the apartment number on the front door: 1478, with hers just directly below Jean’s, and called 911. He was transported to Baylor Hospital where he died.
Reactions Following the Killing
He was a rarity and is remembered as one who is highly respected by all. Whether by family members, co-workers, neighbors or former classmates, he is described as a positive, friendly person, whose life and successes were just getting started. His death has been decried by religious leaders, social media users, and activists in Dallas and throughout the country.
It also sparked protest and outrage and became a flashpoint in an ongoing national conversation over issues of race and law enforcement. Other issues and questions were also raised which include why Guyger was arrested and charged three days after the killing. Many opined that it could only indicate that the police were showing preferential treatment to one of their own.
She was charged with manslaughter but has been released on $300,000 bond although the Dallas County District Attorney, Faith Johnson said she will take the case to a grand jury.
Inconsistencies in the Reports
Also, there are inconsistencies between Guyger’s claim of mistakenly entering the wrong apartment, being confronted by Jean who she thought was a burglar and opening fire, with the evidence, according to Lee Merritt, Dallas civil rights lawyer who represents Jean’s family. In witnesses accounts, two of the neighbors said they heard the officer knocking at the door and repeatedly saying, ‘Let me in,’ before the gunshots.
While Guyger is placed on administrative leave, Jean’s family and many others demand that she be fired. To further add fuel to the already raging fire, the police decided to issue a search warrant on Jean’s apartment to look for evidence of drug paraphernalia. For this act, which his mother described as worse than the call she got about her son’s death, trying to make him out as a criminal, the family is criticizing the police while Merritt pointed out that that the warrant fits into “a familiar pattern” seen in police shootings involving black victims; associating black people with crime.
Among other items, two fired cartridge casings, 10.4 grams of marijuana and a marijuana grinder supposedly found in Jean’s apartment were seized as per a police affidavit. Although the warrant does not specify whom the items belong to, one is left with these questions: What was their intention in the search? To assassinate his character alongside his body and make it look as though the officer was only doing her job – seeking out criminals or could there be another motive? Only those concerned can tell.
In as much as one hopes Botham doesn’t become just a statistic in the rising number of killings going on in the nation and that justice takes its full course, the impact of the incident on the police officer should also be put into cognizance. It could be that two lives were destroyed that night: the one killed and the unintentional killer.
However, the attention being given to explaining how she ended up in the wrong apartment and the details of her account have only increased concerns and frustrations that after years of unsuccessful demands for police accountability, she may end up as yet another police officer who goes unpunished for a fatal shooting.