DALLAS (AP) – A man who was slain after testifying in the murder trial of a former Dallas police officer had feared being a witness because of another incident in which he was shot and wounded outside a nightclub, an attorney for his family said Monday.
Police said Monday that detectives were continuing to investigate the fatal shooting Friday of 28-year-old Joshua Brown, who testified in Amber Guyger’s trial. Guyger was convicted three days earlier in the death of her neighbor, Botham Jean, whose apartment she said she mistook for her own.
Brown, who lived in the same apartment building, had testified about what he’d heard that night. Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Brown’s family, said Brown’s mother told him about her son’s reservations about his visibility in the high-profile trial. In November, Brown was wounded in the foot in a shooting that left a 25year-old man dead outside a Dallas nightclub, The Dallas Morning News reports.
“He was concerned that the people who shot him there still wanted to do him additional harm,” said Merritt, who also represents Jean’s family.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and other officials have asked the public refrain from speculating about the killing of Brown while police investigate. Meanwhile, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. requested an independent investigation into Brown’s slaying, calling it “deeply alarming and highly suspicious” in a news release.
Dallas police had no comment on calls for an independent investigation. Guyger testified that in September 2018, after working a long shift, she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
At the time of Jean’s shooting, Brown lived in the same apartment building as Guyger and Jean. Authorities say Brown was killed at a different complex.
Brown testified that on the night of Jean’s killing, he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived, and that he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” and then two gunshots.
At times during his testimony, Brown became emotional and used his Tshirt and tissue to wipe away tears. He said he had met Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, for the first time earlier that day.
Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over Guyger’s trial, said Monday that she was “saddened” and “stunned” to hear about Brown’s death, adding that “he seemed to be a very compassionate young man and I hate that his life has ended so soon.”
“I think that we need to let the investigation of his death go forward,” Kemp told The Associated Press during her first interview since last week’s verdict.
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson likewise said the city police must be allowed to do their work and that she “will keep a very close eye on the Brown investigation and all aspects of this terrible crime.”
Brown testified that he was originally from Jacksonville, Florida, and had moved to Texas in 2008. He testified he graduated from the University of South Florida, where he played football from 2012 to 2013.
USF said in a statement that Brown was “a much loved and valued member of our football program and athletic family.”