DALLAS — Editor's note: This story was originally published April 29. We're bringing it back before the beginning of the murder trial for Amber Guyger.
What was Amber Guyger thinking after she shot Botham Jean?
That’s the question Dallas has been asking since September when the fired police officer shot 26-year-old Botham Jean in his own apartment. Now, we know.
For the first time, the public can now hear the 911 call Guyger made moments after she shot Jean. WFAA-TV obtained a copy, which until now, not even the family has heard.
“I thought it was my apartment,” Guyger repeats 19 times on the recording.
“I’m going to lose my job,” she also says.
Jean’s death became a national controversy. Rumors and innuendo spread like wildfire on social media that Guyger knew Jean and that the shooting was no accident. The case ignited marches, protests and calls for Guyger to be arrested and charged with murder. Jean’s family and the public demanded answers.
As misinformation spread and enmity boiled over into the streets, police officials and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office refused to release the Sept. 6 recording – a window into Guyger’s state of mind – citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
On the call, Guyger sounds frantic, distraught and out of breath as it appears to dawn on her that she’s not in her apartment. She can be heard talking to Jean, telling him at one point, “I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”
On the night Jean died, Gugyer had just completed a nearly 14-hour work shift. Police officials also have refused to release records showing how many hours she worked that week.
Guyger, 30, was arrested on a charge of manslaughter three days after the shooting and was fired two weeks later. A grand jury indicted her on a murder charge in late November. The case is set for trial in September.
Jean and Guyger, who did not know each other, lived one floor apart – she on the third floor, he on the fourth. She lived directly below him.
Guyger, still in her police uniform, arrived at the complex and parked on the fourth floor. She then went to what she thought was her apartment, she told investigators. She also said she shot Jean thinking he was an intruder, according to her arrest warrant affidavit.
The affidavit says the apartment was dark and Guyger turned on the lights while on the phone with 911 after the shooting.
The 911 call spans 5 minutes and 38 seconds.
“This is an off duty officer,” Guyger tells the operator. “Can I get, I need to get EMS.”
“Do you need police as well or just EMS?” the operator responds.
“Yes, I need both,” Guyger says, heavily breathing.
When the operator asks her where she’s at, it sounds like she is checking the apartment number and realizes she’s not in hers.
“What’s going on?” the operator asks.
“I thought I was in my apartment and I shot a guy thinking he was, thinking it was my apartment,” Guyger says.
“You shot someone?” the operator asks.
“I thought it was my apartment. I’m [expletive],” Guyger responds. “Oh my God. I’m sorry.”
The operator then asks where Guyger was at the moment. Guyger tells her that she’s in the apartment with the man. The operator asks for her name.
“I’m Amber Guyger,” she says, sounding as if she’s becoming increasingly frantic. “I need, get me. I’m in.”
“We have help on the way,” the operator says.
“I know,” Guyger responds.
Just over a minute into the call, Guyger says, “I’m going to lose my job. I thought it was my apartment.” She tells the operator she’s going to need a supervisor.
Over and over throughout the call, she can be heard talking to Jean. Court records reveal that she “provided first aid.”
“Hey bud, hey bud, hey bud,” she tells Jean. “Come on.”
She whispers a curse word before again crying, “I thought it was my apartment.”
Repeatedly, the operator reassures Guyger that help is on the way. She tells the operator she could have sworn she parked on the third floor.
“I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment,” she says. “I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment.”
Throughout the call, Guyger becomes more frantic.
“Oh my god,” she says. “I’m done.”
The sounds of Jean’s moaning are audible during the moments of silence on the call.
“They’re trying to get there to you, OK,” the operator tells her in a reassuring voice.
“I know,” Guyger says.
Guyger can then be heard telling Jean, “Stay with me bud.”
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” she says as the call winds into its final minute.
As the call comes to a close, Guyger sounds confused and appears to be trying to figure out how she got into the wrong apartment.
“Oh my God. How did I put the…how did…how did I…I’m so tired,” she says.
Guyger would later tell police she found the door slightly ajar and that it opened when she put her key fob in the door, the arrest warrant says. She told investigators she saw a "large silhouette" across the room and began giving commands, which Jean "ignored,” the arrest warrant says.
A neighbor told police that he heard an exchange of words, followed by at least two gunshots, according to a search warrant. Jean was shot once in the abdomen.
Police arrived after Guyger was on the 911 call for 5 minutes and 27 seconds.
“I’m off duty. I’m off duty,” she tells them. “I thought it was my apartment. I thought this was my floor.”