DALLAS (AP/WFLA) — A witness in the murder trial of a white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor has been killed in a shooting, the Dallas Morning News reported, citing authorities.
The newspaper reported that authorities said Joshua Brown, who lived in the same apartment complex as Amber Guyger and Botham Jean, was shot and killed Friday in Dallas.
Brown was 28 years old.
Back in 2012, however, he was a defensive back for the University of South Florida football team.
According to Brown’s bio on USF Football’s roster page, he was born in Pensacola, Florida, but also lived in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Lancaster, Texas.
The bio also said he has four sisters, Nicole, LaPorsha, Alexis and Alana, and three brothers, Alex, Andrew and Sheri.
He majored in interdisciplinary social science while at USF.
USF Athletics released the following statement about Brown:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Joshua Brown in Dallas, Texas. 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. Our hearts go out to Joshua’s family, friends and loved ones during this very difficult time.”
Brown testified in Guyger’s trial about the Sept. 2018 night that Jean was killed, saying he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived. He said he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” and then two gunshots.
Brown, who became emotional at times and used his T-shirt and tissue to wipe his tears, 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.
The newspaper did not cite authorities by name for confirmation of Brown’s death. A Dallas police spokesman on Saturday would not confirm to The Associated Press that it was Brown who was shot Friday. He said the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office would determine the identification Sunday.
Police said in a news release that they responded to the shooting shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment complex different from the one where Jean was killed. They said several witnesses flagged officers down when they arrived and directed them to an apartment parking lot where the man who was shot was lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds.
The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Witnesses told police they heard several gunshots and saw a silver four-door sedan speeding out of the parking lot, according to the police news release.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Jean family, said in a tweet Saturday that he spoke with Brown’s mother and that she is “devastated.”
“We all are,” Merritt said. “Joshua Brown was a key witness in the murder of Botham Jean that helped put Amber Guyger away. We need answers.”
In a statement he included with the tweet, he said authorities have not identified a suspect or determined a motive.
“Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family,” Merritt said in the statement.
Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus said Brown “bravely came forward to testify when others wouldn’t,” according to the newspaper.
“If we had more people like him, we would have a better world,” said Hermus, who was lead prosecutor in the case.