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Dallas grand jury to examine police officer's fatal shooting of neighbour

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Dallas grand jury to examine police officer's fatal shooting of neighbour
Officer Amber Guyger appears in a booking photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office, September 10, 2018. Kaufman County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS   -   Copyright  HANDOUT(Reuters)
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By Gabriella Borter

(Reuters) – Texas prosecutors will convene a grand jury to investigate and possibly change a manslaughter charge against a Dallas police officer who fatally shot a man in his apartment last week, as the victim’s mother demands more answers.

The officer, Amber Guyger, 30, was arrested on Sunday and charged with manslaughter in the death on Thursday of Botham Shem Jean, 26, whom she shot after she said she mistook his residence as hers and thought she had encountered an intruder.

Unsatisfied with the manslaughter charge, the victim’s mother, Allison Jean, demanded at a news conference on Monday that prosecutors uncover the circumstances of her son’s death.

“I’m looking forward to all of the powers that be to come up with the answers to make me more satisfied that they’re doing what is in the best interest of getting justice for Botham,” Jean said.

An attorney for Guyger, who was released on $300,000 bond, could not immediately be reached for comment. Questions have been raised over why there was a delay in charging Guyger and how she did not know that she was not in her own apartment.

A police spokesman said the results of a blood test on Guyger for drugs and alcohol were still pending on Monday.

District Attorney Faith Johnson told reporters on Monday, “We plan to present a thorough case to the grand jury of Dallas County so that the right decision can be made in this case.”

The grand jury may decide to uphold the police’s manslaughter charge, a second-degree felony, or it could consider charging Guyger with murder, a first-degree felony.

Guyger came home from her shift on Thursday in uniform. Once inside Jean’s apartment, Guyger fired her weapon before calling 911, according to an account on Friday by Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall.

The deadly confrontation took on racial overtones, as Guyger is white and Jean, whose family is from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, was black.

The Dallas Morning News reported late Sunday that Guyger said she had mistakenly gone to Jean’s apartment, one floor above hers, after a 15-hour shift and found the door unlocked when she tried to use her key.

Entering the darkened apartment, she noticed a figure whom she said she mistook for a burglar and fired twice, striking Jean once in the chest, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case.

Representatives of the Dallas Police Department and Department of Public Safety declined to comment on the report.

Jean’s family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, said that a local service is planned for Jean on Thursday and his remains would be sent to his family’s home in the Caribbean.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter, Peter Szekely, Rich McKay and Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)

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