A key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was shot and killed Friday evening at an apartment complex in the city, according to local media reports.
Joshua Brown, a neighbor of Guyger and Botham Jean, the man she was convicted of killing late last year at the South Side Flats apartment complex, was gunned down around 10:30 p.m, the Dallas Morning News reports. Police confirmed that a fatal shooting took place around that time in the same location described by the Morning News but stopped short of identifying the victim as Brown.
Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents the Jean family, identified the victim as Brown.
Jason Hermus, the assistant district attorney and lead prosecutor in the Guyger case, also appeared to confirm Brown’s death, telling the Morning News on Saturday that “he bravely came forward to testify when others wouldn't.”
“If we had more people like him, we would have a better world,” Hermus was quoted as saying.
Police said several witnesses saw a silver, four-door sedan fleeing the parking lot at a high speed after the shooting. Brown was reportedly found with multiple gunshot wounds.
He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, but he died from his injuries. No suspects have been named in the case at this time.
Brown was a key witness for the prosecution in Guyger’s trial. Guyger, a white off-duty cop in uniform on the night of the killing, was found guilty of murder for fatally shooting Jean, an unarmed black man, in his own apartment in September 2018. Guyger said she confused Jean’s apartment for her own and believed he was an intruder, shooting at him in self-defense.
“I thought it was my apartment,” Guyger told dispatchers 19 times on the 911 call played in court. “I thought it was my apartment. I’m fucked. Oh my God. I’m sorry.”
Guyger, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday. She faced up to 99 years for the fatal shooting.
Brown lived across the hall from 26-year-old Jean, and testified that on the night of Sept. 6, 2018, he was in the hallway on the fourth floor of the apartment building when he heard what he thought sounded like “two people meeting by surprise.” He said at the trial that he couldn’t hear what they were saying before he heard two gunshots.
Merritt said Brown’s murder “underscores the reality of the black experience in America.”
“Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family,” Merritt wrote on Facebook. “The Dallas County criminal justice system must mobilized to identify his killer and see that he is held accountable for this murder.”