News that Joshua Brown, a key witness in Amber Guyger’s murder trial, was fatally shot the night of Oct. 4 drew national interest and concern, as it was only the day before that jurors had sent her to prison for 10 years. But two days after Brown’s slaying, Dallas police had released little information about their investigation of his death.
The Police Department confirmed that the 28-year-old Brown was the victim whom officers found about 10:30 p.m. Oct. 4 with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body. Police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell said the next day, before Brown had been publicly identified, that the victim died at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
The timing of Brown’s death has raised public speculation about whether the shooting was tied to his testimony.
Against the backdrop of swift social media reaction to the news of Brown’s death, Dallas’ elected leaders, including Mayor Eric Johnson, urged patience as the investigation plays out.
In a statement on Twitter, Johnson said he trusts the Police Department to investigate thoroughly.
“Until we know more about this incident, I encourage everyone to refrain from speculation,” the statement said. Johnson urged anyone with information to contact police, then added: “Dallas will never be a city that tolerates acts of violence such as this.”
His message came a day after news of Brown’s death brought an outpouring of condolences and calls for a rigorous investigation. Democratic presidential hopefuls Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro were among a number of politicians calling for attention to the case.
Police Chief U. Reneé Hall said in a brief statement that her department had not identified a motive or any suspects.
“We are committed to solving this case and will work diligently to apprehend the individuals responsible for Brown’s death,” she said.
Hall did not return a call or text from a reporter for more information about the shooting, which occurred about 3.5 miles from the South Side Flats complex in the Cedars, where Brown had lived across the hall from Botham Jean.
Officers were called Friday night to the Atera apartments in the 4600 block of Cedar Springs Road, where witnesses reported hearing gunshots and seeing a silver four-door sedan speed out of the parking lot.
Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing the Jean family, indicated he had spoken with Brown’s mother.
“He had no known enemies,” Merritt tweeted. “He worked for a living. We need answers.”
In a post that was retweeted more than 68,000 times, Merritt said that Brown had been shot in the mouth and chest. He later pulled back from that statement, saying he would have to wait for an autopsy to be sure where Brown’s wounds were.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged patience, as “many career professionals are hard at work on this case.”
“Mr. Brown was not shot in the mouth or head but was shot more than one time,” he said.
Jenkins also affirmed authorities’ commitment to finding whoever killed Brown.
“Dallas County, the city of Dallas and others will work to ensure a transparent and thorough investigation,” he wrote on Twitter.
O’Rourke said investigators need to determine the truth of what happened.
“When Botham Jean was killed in his own home, his neighbor, Joshua Brown, spoke out and ensured his murderer was held accountable,” the former congressman for El Paso said on Twitter.
Fellow Texan Castro also called for a transparent investigation “the people in Dallas can trust.”
“Joshua Brown bravely stood up to injustice and helped put Amber Guyger behind bars. Three days later, he was murdered,” the former San Antonio mayor wrote on Twitter.
Brown testified at Guyger’s trial about what he heard the night Jean died.
Guyger was an off-duty Dallas officer who was still in uniform when she shot Jean. She was convicted Tuesday of murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday.
In his testimony about the night Jean was shot, Brown said that he had returned home after watching a football game at a bar when he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise,” followed by two gunshots. Brown said he ran to safety after that.
He said during the trial that he managed Airbnbs. He also testified that he was from Jacksonville, Fla., and had moved to Texas in 2008 before he left to attend the University of South Florida.
He played football at that school from 2012 to 2013, according to a written statement from the university’s athletics program.
“Joshua was a much loved and valued member of our football program and athletic family and his loss is felt by many whose lives he positively touched,” the statement read. “Our hearts go out to Joshua’s family, friends and loved ones during this very difficult time.”
In November, Brown was wounded in the foot in a shooting that left another man dead outside a nightclub in northwest Dallas.
According to an affidavit, a man had waited for Brown outside Dallas Cabaret and fought him when he came out. When Brown tried to leave, the man started shooting, killing Nicholas Shaq’uan Diggs, 26, and injuring Brown.
How to contact police about the case
Anyone with information about the shooting may contact Detective Jacob White at 214-671-3690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and refer to the case number, 202433-2019.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case. To make an anonymous tip, call 214-373-8477.
Bill Perkins, an author and the CEO of the BrisaMax Holdings consulting firm, is offering a $100,000 reward to find whoever killed Brown, civil rights activist Shaun King announced.