A Dallas police officer fatally shot a neighbor inside the man’s apartment late Thursday night, claiming that she mistook his apartment for her own and believed he was an intruder, the police said.
After completing her shift on Thursday, the officer went to her apartment building across the street from the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters shortly before 10 p.m. But the officer, who was still in police uniform, did not go to her own unit and instead tried to enter the residence of a neighbor, Botham Shem Jean. She then shot him, the authorities said.
Mr. Jean, 26, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It was not clear how the officer, whose name has not been released, mistook where she lived or why she opened fire.
Chief U. Renee Hall of the Dallas Police Department said that investigators were seeking an arrest warrant to charge the officer with manslaughter. Chief Hall said it became clear in the beginning of the investigation that the case was not a standard officer-involved shooting.
“We were dealing with what appears to be a very unique situation,” Chief Hall said at a news conference on Friday afternoon. “Right now, there are more questions than we have answers.”
The Police Department asked the Texas Rangers, the state’s top law enforcement agency, to take over the investigation.
Chief Hall said that the officer had been questioned only when other officers responded to the shooting on Thursday night. While the officers took a blood sample from her to test for alcohol or drugs, investigators have been unable to further question her.
The chief identified the officer only as a patrol officer who is white, saying that the officer was not in custody and that she did not know her whereabouts.
Within hours of the shooting, there was an outpouring of grief for Mr. Jean from Dallas to St. Lucia, his home country in the Caribbean, as well as demands that the officer be charged in his death.
Mr. Jean was born in the Caribbean and later moved to the United States, where he graduated in 2016 from Harding University in Arkansas. He was active on campus and in student groups, including as a member of the Good News Singers, the university said on Friday. With a booming, soulful voice, Mr. Jean often led the group in songs.
Bruce McLarty, the university’s president, said on Friday that he recalled when he asked Mr. Jean in 2014 to sing a hymn at a major event at Harding, which is associated with the Churches of Christ. Mr. Jean agreed but later confessed that he had said yes without actually knowing the song.
“He called back to St. Lucia and asked his grandmother to teach him that old hymn on the phone,” Dr. McLarty said in a statement. “He shared it with us at Lectureship that night, and it was a truly special moment.”
Mr. Jean moved to Dallas after college. After an internship at the accounting firm PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, he joined the company full time in July 2016 in its Dallas offices, the company said. He was currently a risk assurance experienced associate.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” a PwC spokeswoman said in an email. “We are simply heartbroken to hear of his death.”
Mr. Jean was a member of a prominent family in St. Lucia. His mother, Allison Jean, was a senior official in St. Lucia’s Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development. A family friend said that Ms. Jean could not comment on Friday because she was receiving chemotherapy treatment.
One of Mr. Jean’s uncles is the chief executive of a regional water utility in St. Lucia, while another uncle, Earl Jean, played professional soccer in Europe and on the island’s national team.
“How can this nasty world take you away from me,” Earl Jean wrote on Facebook on Friday. “This is the worst day of my life thus far.”