A neighbor who served as a key prosecution witness in murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was shot and killed over the weekend in what his attorney has called a “suspicious” death.
Joshua Brown was killed Friday night outside an apartment complex near Dallas’ Medical District, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Witnesses described seeing a silver four-door sedan speed out of the parking lot after hearing multiple gunshots. Brown was pronounced dead a short time later at an area hospital.
Brown had served as a key witness for the prosecution in Guyger’s trial and was expected to be a witness in the civil case Jean’s family has filed against the city of Dallas, CBS News reports.
Attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the Jean family and Brown, has questioned the circumstances surrounding the death.
“To have a key witness, suddenly be killed is suspicious,” he told the network. “Was this related to the trial? There is no clear indication.”
Brown testified last week about the night of Sept. 6, 2018, when Guyger shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean after going into the wrong apartment.
Brown had lived on the same floor as Jean at the time of the shooting and told the jury he overhead what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” before gunshots rang out. He had been unable to make out their conversation.
Brown told jurors he had only met Jean for the first time earlier that day, but later became emotional when he recalled overhearing his neighbor sing Gospel and Drake songs through the walls.
Merritt told CBS News that Brown had been scared someone was after him and was reluctant to testify after another separate shooting in Dallas less than a year ago
“He had been shot less than a year ago and someone standing near him was killed,” Merritt said. “He was reluctant to testify in this case because he had been shot at and he thought some people might want to do him harm.”
Merritt argued that police should have offered him protection.
In a post on Facebook, Merritt said Brown’s death “underscores the reality of the black experience in America.”
He described him as a former athlete-turned-entrepreneur. Brown had been working in roofing and property management at the time of his death.
“Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state-sanctioned or otherwise,” Merritt wrote. “We have more work to do deal with the constant threats to our community both from within and without.”
The apartment complex where Brown was shot multiple times was not the same complex where the Jean's occurred nearly a year earlier.
Guyger was convicted of Jean’s murder last week and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The Dallas Police are now investigating Brown’s death. No motive or possible suspects have been released.
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