DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Botham Jean, 26, was killed in his own apartment when an off-duty officer apparently mistook his unit for her own.
It was not clear what the officer may have said to Jean after entering his home late Thursday. But given what investigators currently know about the case, they decided to pursue a manslaughter case, police said.
Jean grew up in St. Lucia and attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he majored in accounting and information systems and often led campus worship services before graduating in 2016, the school said in a statement. That July, he went to work for PwC in risk assurance. The company in a statement that it was “simply heartbroken to hear of his death.”
Family and friends described Jean as a devout Christian and a talented singer. His uncle Ignatius Jean said the slaying left relatives devastated and looking for answers.
“You want to think it’s fiction … and you have to grapple with the reality,” he said.
He called Jean a “brilliant” man of “impeccable character” and said news of his death had rippled across the small island nation of St. Lucia.
“Botham was in the prime of his life,” his uncle said.
Nathan Monan, a friend from Harding University, said Botham Jean was kind to everybody and would often lead people in song during chapel at the private university in Arkansas.
“He lived what he spoke,” Monan said, adding that Jean’s death has stirred emotions of overwhelming sadness and anger. “This doesn’t make sense to anybody right now.”
A YouTube video posted in 2014 shows Jean making his pitch to become the university’s student association president.
“I want to serve,” he says in the video. “My Harding experience has really inspired me to want to serve and I want every student at Harding to have the best Harding experience possible.”
Jean was an employee with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. The company issued a statement Friday morning saying –
“This is a terrible tragedy. Botham Jean was a member of the PwC family in our Dallas office and we are simply heartbroken to hear of his death.”
Authorities have not said how the officer got into Jean’s home, or whether his door was open or unlocked. The apartment complex is just a few blocks from Dallas police headquarters.
Residents of the complex said they can access their units with a key or through a keypad code.
Jeffrey Scherzer, who lives there, said when he returned home after the shooting, an officer escorted him to his apartment and warned him to steer clear of a blood trail.
Attorney Lee Merritt, who has been involved with high-profile cases in North Texas, said Friday the officer should have already been arrested, like any other person in a similar situation.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)