US cop shooting case to go to grand jury

The family of a black man shot and killed in his own home by his neighbour, a police officer in the US city of Dallas, say her account of what happened is self-serving.

The manslaughter case against officer Amber Guyger will be presented to a grand jury, which could decide on more serious charges.

Guyger said she mistook her neighbour's apartment for her own last Thursday when she allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean.

The Dallas Morning News said Guyger had reportedly just ended a 15-hour shift when she returned in uniform to the apartment complex where she and Jean lived.

She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived. When she put her key in the unlocked apartment door, it opened and the lights were off. Then she saw a figure in the darkness, the newspaper reported.

The officer reportedly concluded her apartment was being burgled, drew her weapon and fired twice then realised she was in the wrong unit when she turned on the lights.

The Dallas County medical examiner's office said Jean died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a homicide.

Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Jean's family, says two independent witnesses have told him they heard knocking on the door in the hallway before the shooting.

He said one witness reported hearing a woman's voice saying, "Let me in! Let me in!"

Then they heard gunshots, after which one witness said she heard a man's voice say, "Oh my God! Why did you do that?"

Merritt said he believes those were Jean's last words.

As for the contention that Jean left his front door ajar, Merritt said Jean was a "meticulous individual."

"That means that when he comes into a room, he makes it a point to close the door behind him. He hangs his keys on the hook. He put everything in a particular place," Merritt said.

Guyger's blood was drawn at the scene to be tested for alcohol and drugs, but authorities have not released results.

Australian Associated Press