Neighbor of Botham Jean, key witness in trial, shot to death in Dallas
(CNN) — A man who was a key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was fatally shot Friday in the parking lot of his apartment complex, according to attorney Lee Merritt.
Joshua Brown was a neighbor of shooting victim Botham Jean, who was sitting in his apartment in September 2018 when Guyger walked inside and shot him to death. Brown says he lived directly across the hall from Jean.
Merritt, attorney for Jean’s family, told CNN he spoke to Brown’s mother who confirmed the death.
Dallas police responded to a call for a shooting at the Atera Apartments complex around 10:30 p.m. Friday, police told CNN.
Officers were flagged down by witnesses who directed them to Brown, who was lying on the ground of the apartment parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries, according to a statement from Dallas Police.
Witnesses told police they heard several gunshots and saw a silver four-dour sedan speed out of the parking lot, police said.
Brown had no identification on him, so police couldn’t identify him until the medical examiner made a positive ID and notified the next of kin.
There is no suspect information at this time, police said.
‘He said it could have been him’
Brown said during his testimony he was originally from Jacksonville, Florida and moved to Texas in 2008.
He attended college in southern Florida where studied interdisciplinary sciences. He tried to play football after college, but got into roofing. He says he was a roofing contractor for a few years. At the time of his testimony, Brown said he was managing four Airbnb’s in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas.
Merritt said Brown lived in constant fear of gun violence and that’s why he was emotional on the witness stand during the trial.
“He said it could have been him,” Merritt said.
Merritt wrote in a Facebook post that Brown’s murder “underscores the reality of the black experience in America.”
“Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise,” he wrote.
Joshua Brown’s testimony
Brown testified that he met Jean the day he was killed. He said he was down the hall from his apartment when he heard the voices of two people who sounded like they were meeting by “surprise.” The gunshots followed “right after,” he said.
Soon after, from his apartment balcony, Brown said he saw Guyger come out to the hallway from Jean’s apartment on the phone. She was “crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she came in to the wrong apartment,” he said.
Through his peep hole, Brown said he also saw the former officer “going back, back and forth on the phone.”
“And then, I think she went back inside, then came back out,” said Brown, who lived across the hallway from Jean.
During testimony, Brown broke down and wiped away tears with his T-shirt. Jean’s family members could be heard crying softly.
Guyger, 31, was found guilty of murder Wednesday and given a 10-year sentence. She will first be eligible for parole in five years.
The ex-officer said she mistakenly walked into the wrong apartment in her complex and opened fire because she thought Jean was an intruder.