Key Witness in Trial of Cop Convicted of Murdering Black Man in His Apartment Has Been Killed
Joshua Brown was shot and killed in Dallas on Friday, two days after Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison
Joshua Brown, a witness who testified in Amber Guyger’s trial, was fatally shot on Friday, two days after the former Texas cop, who is white, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing a black man in his apartment.
Brown, 28, who lived across the hall from Botham Jean at the time of the 2018 shooting, was shot and killed on Friday at a Dallas apartment complex, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The Dallas Police Department told TIME in a statement that they responded to reports of a fatal shooting at 10:30 p.m. and found the victim, whom they did not identify, “lying on the ground in the apartment parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds.”
The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries, according to police. Although a suspect has not been taken into custody, several witnesses reported having heard gunshots and seeing a car driving away from the parking lot.
While police have not released the identity of the victim, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office Kimberlee Leach did identify Brown as the deceased to PEOPLE.
The Dallas Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Attorney Lee Merrit, who represented Jean’s family during the trial, has spoken out on social media numerous times about Brown’s death.
“His murder underscores the reality of the black experience in America,” Merrit wrote on a social media post on Saturday. “A former athlete turned entrepreneur— Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise.”
Merrit added, “Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family. The Dallas County criminal justice system must mobilized to identify his killer and see that he is held accountable for this murder.”
Merrit went on to post a video taken during Brown’s testimony, where he became emotional while speaking about how he was able to hear Jean “singing every morning” from his apartment.
“He was deeply effected [sic] by this murder. But by testifying that he could hear Botham singing in his apartment he undermines a key element of the defense,” Merrit wrote, adding that the former cop “claimed she shouted commands to Botham before shooting him.”
During his testimony, Brown said he was able to hear what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” followed by two gunshots, reported The Dallas Morning News.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also spoken out about Brown’s death.
“Just when we caught a glimpse of justice for Botham Jean, much of it feels stolen back with the murder of Joshua Brown, a key witness in the case,” she tweeted on Sunday. “My heart breaks for his family and for everyone touched by this tragedy. We must get to the bottom of this injustice.”
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, prosecutor Jason Hermus praised Brown for “bravely coming forward to testify when others wouldn’t,” adding, “If we had more people like him, we would have a better world.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Guyger was found guilty on Tuesday of killing her 26-year-old neighbor on another floor inside his own apartment, claiming she mistook him for someone burglarizing her own home.
Although the former Dallas police officer, 31, faced a maximum sentence of 99 years, she was only sentenced to 10 years in prison.
It was not immediately clear if Guyger intends to appeal her conviction.