Dallas, TX – A recording of the 911 call former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger made after she shot a man she said she believed was inside her apartment was released on Monday, and it lends significant insight into the officer’s state of mind after the shooting (video below).
Police officials and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office had refused to release the audio of then-Officer Guyger’s 911 call and the conversation that ensued with the dispatcher citing an ongoing criminal investigation, WFAA reported.
However, the 911 call itself provides support to the officer’s claims that she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean by mistake.
During the almost six-minute conversation with the dispatcher, Officer Guyger repeated the phrase “I thought it was my apartment” at least 19 times, according to WFAA.
She sounded frantic on the call and became more hysterical as time passed while she waited for EMS and police to arrive on the scene.
The shooting occurred when then-Officer Guyger was off-duty and returning home from work just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 6 when the incident occurred.
After having worked 14 hours serving warrants in high crime areas of the city, the 30-year-old officer parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage adjacent to her apartment building, WCAU reported.
The arrest affidavit said the garage levels correspond with the floors in the apartment complex. Officer Guyger lived on the 3rd Floor of the Southside Flats apartment complex, and should have parked on the 3rd floor where her apartment was.
But the off-duty officer parked on the 4th floor of the parking garage and proceeded into the building, where she went to the door of the apartment she believed to be her own and inserted her key.
The affidavit used to get the warrant for the officer’s arrest said the door to the 4th Floor apartment was not completely shut. It’s been reported that the Southside Flats apartments use a keycard entry system.
“She inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door key hole,” the affidavit said. “The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger’s arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion.”
The sound of the door opening alerted Jean, who was home alone in his apartment watching football.
The affidavit said Jean went to see what was going on at his front door.
Officer Guyger told investigators she saw the silhouette of someone in what she believed to be her own apartment, and drew her firearm, WCAU reported. The affidavit said she believed she was being robbed.
She said that she gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean, according to the affidavit. Then she fired her weapon in the dark at the person twice, striking him once.
The arrest affidavit said it wasn’t until Officer Guyger was already on the phone with 911, that she reached to turn on the lights and she realized she was not in her own apartment.
She went into the hall and checked the address on the door, and confirmed for the dispatchers that she was in unit 1478, one floor above her own apartment, WCAU reported.
Jean was transported to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he later died.
The 911 recording began at 9:59 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2018, just after Officer Guyger shot Jean.
“Get up man,” Officer Guyger said to Jean as she waited for the dispatcher to answer her call.
“Dallas 911. This is Carla. What is your emergency?” the dispatcher asked.
“Hi, this is an off-duty officer. Um, can I get, I need EMS. I’m in number… hold on,” Officer Guyger seemed to be trying to figure out exactly where she was so she could tell the dispatcher.
“Do you need police as well, or just EMS?” this dispatcher asked.
“Yes. I need both,” the officer replied quickly.
“Okay, what’s the address?” the dispatcher asked.
“F--k. I’m at apartment number 1478, I’m in 1478,” Officer Guyger told the dispatcher, as if it was just dawning on her that she was on the wrong floor entirely.
“And what’s the address there?” the dispatcher asked.
“It’s 1210 South Lamar. 1478. I’m an off-duty officer I thought I was at my apartment and I shot a guy thinking that he was… thinking it was my apartment,” Officer Guyger explained.
“You shot someone?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yeah, I thought it was my apartment. I’m fucked. Oh my god. I’m sorry,” the officer said.
The “I’m sorry” seemed to be directed at Jean rather than the dispatcher.
“Where are you now?” the dispatcher asked.
“What do you mean? I’m in um, what do you mean? I’m inside the apartment with him,” Officer Guyger replied.
“Hey, come on man,” the officer said to Jean, as if trying to wake him up.
“What’s your name?” the dispatcher asked.
“I’m Amber Guyger. I need… get me… I’m… I’m in…” the officer replied, becoming more frantic by the moment and breathing heavily.
“Okay, we have help on the way,” the dispatcher confirmed.
“I know but I’m… I’m gonna lose my job. I thought it was my apartment. F--k,” Officer Guyger told the dispatcher.
“Okay, stay with me okay,” the dispatcher said.
“I need… I need… I know need a supervisor,” Officer Guyger told the dispatcher.
Then she tried to get the man she had shot to respond again.
“Hey bud. Hey bud, hey bud. C’mon,” Officer Guyger said softly. And then more urgently, she told the dispatcher, “Oh f--k. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. Hurry please!”
“They’re on their way,” the dispatcher told her again.
“I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. I could have sworn I parked on the third floor,” Officer Guyger said.
“Okay, I understand,” the dispatcher replied.
“No… I thought it was my apartment,” the officer told the dispatcher. And she repeated “I thought it was my apartment” four more times.
“What’s the gate code there?” the dispatcher asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Officer Guyger said.
“You don’t know? Okay,” the dispatcher replied.
“I thought it was my apartment,” the officer repeated.
At that point, the dispatcher said they had an officer there but they needed the gate code. Again, Officer Guyger said that she didn’t know the code.
“I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment,” Officer Guyger said over and over, becoming more hysterical as moments passed and she waited for help.
“Ma’am, what floor are you in right now?” the dispatcher asked.
“On the fourth floor. Fourth,” the officer said. Then she turned her attention back to Jean.
“Hey bud, hey bud. They’re coming, they’re coming. I’m sorry, man,” Officer Guyger told the man she had shot.
“Where was he shot?” the dispatcher asked.
“He’s on the top, the top left,” the officer replied.
“Okay, you’re with Dallas PD, right?” the dispatcher confirmed.
“Yes,” Officer Guyger told her. “Oh my God. I’m done. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I’m so sorry. Hey bud…” She appeared to turn her attention and concern back to Jean.
“They’re trying to get there to you okay?” the dispatcher said.
“I know,” the officer replied.
Then “Stay with me bud,” she told Jean. “Holy f--k.”
“They’re almost there. They’re trying to get to you,” the dispatcher said.
“Holy f--k. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. Holy f--k. I thought it was my apartment,” Officer Guyger babbled, becoming more distraught by the second. “I thought it was my apartment. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Her apologies were directed at the man whom she had shot.
“Oh my God,” Officer Guyger said.
“Okay, ma’am they’re trying to get there to you. Do you hear them? Do you see them?” the dispatcher asked.
“No. No,” the officer replied.
“I… I… How the fuck did I put the… how did I? How did I?” the officer seemed to be trying to figure out how she had let herself into the wrong apartment. “I’m so tired.”
That’s when help arrived and Officer Guyger called out to them.
“Hurry. Hey! Over here, over here!” the officer yelled. “No, it’s me. I’m off duty. I’m off duty. I thought they were in my apartment. I thought this was my floor…” and the recording ended as arriving police took over at the scene.
Officer Guyger was initially arrested on manslaughter charges, but a grand jury returned a murder indictment against her just a few days later after protests.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall announced that Guyger had been fired from the police force on Sept. 24, but not for the shooting.
“An Internal Affairs investigation concluded that on September 9, 2018, Officer Guyger, # 10702, engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter,” the chief’s statement read.
That statement appears to refer to some action taken by then-Officer Guyger on the day of her arrest.
The firing came after two weeks of protests in the city, and widespread calls for the chief to terminate Officer Guyger’s employment with the Dallas Police Department (DPD).
The chief had said she couldn't fire Guyger for the shooting itself until the investigation was complete.
She was fired on the same day that Jean was buried in his native St. Lucia, the Dallas Morning News reported.
You can listen to the 911 audio below: