A Dallas man was killed late Thursday when a police officer returning home from her shift entered the wrong apartment in her building and eventually opened fire, authorities said.
Details surrounding the death of Botham Shem Jean, a 26-year-old native of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, were not immediately available early Friday.
His mother, Allie Jean, said in a phone interview that his family was stunned to learn of his death.
“He did no one any wrong,” she said.
Dallas police in a statement said that preliminary information suggests the officer involved called for help, and told responding officers that “she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own.”
The incident began just before 10 p.m. CT (11 p.m. ET) at the South Side Flats, an upscale apartment complex directly south of Dallas’ downtown.
During the encounter, the officer was in full uniform and “fired her weapon striking the victim,” police said.
Jean was taken to the hospital and died. The Dallas County Medical Examiner later released his identity.
The officer was not immediately identified, and was being placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
At a news conference early Friday, Dallas police Sgt. Warren Mitchell said they had yet to interview the officer and would not speculate as to whether she mistakenly entered another apartment and believed the man already inside was an intruder.
“We still have a lot to do in this investigation,” Mitchell added.
Allie Jean said her son lived in a gated apartment complex and had no reason not to trust anyone who was at his door.
“He’s that kind of person,” she said.
But she questioned how the situation could have escalated to her son’s shooting.
“Somebody has to be crazy not to realize that they walked into the wrong apartment,” Allie Jean said. “He’s a bachelor. Things are different inside.”
“And if you try your key and it doesn’t work, that should make you realize you’re at the wrong apartment,” she added. “Every door for each apartment is also numbered.”
Allie Jean said she would speak with her son daily, usually before 10 p.m., but thought he might be out after she didn’t hear from him.
She remembered her son, who was nicknamed Bo, as a top student who loved serving as a song leader in church and leading worship.
He attended Harding University, a private Christian institution in Arkansas, and was a member of the Good News Singers and campus ministry.
“I don’t think there was a student on campus who didn’t know Botham,” said Landis Tindell, who knew him as a resident adviser. “He was always friendly, always smiling, and just all around a great person.”
After Jean graduated in 2016, he remained in the U.S. with an internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, where he worked in the risk assurance department, his mother said.
“We were very, very close,” Allie Jean added. “We would talk about everything, about politics. Botham loved everyone, and everyone loved him.”
His sister, Allisa Charles-Findley, wrote on Facebook that she was thinking about what to get Jean for his 27th birthday later this month, but “now I have to go pick out your casket.”
“My brother is my best friend,” she told NBC News. “My heart is broken beyond repair.”