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Man slain by Dallas police officer is remembered as vibrant

Stephen English, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in News & Features

RICHARDSON, Texas -- Botham Shem Jean was remembered as vibrant, full of life and a child of God as more than 1,500 people gathered Thursday for his memorial at Greenville Avenue Church of Christ.

"Today we are here to celebrate the life of Botham Jean," minister Michael Griffin said at the beginning of the three-hour service. "We're not here for any other reason but to celebrate his life," he added, raising his voice.

Jean, 26, was shot and killed Sept. 6 by off-duty Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, who told investigators she thought she had entered her apartment and encountered an intruder.

Ignatius Jean, a relative of Botham, said that the news shook their homeland, the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

"A nuke has hit our island," he said.

Ignatius Jean also remembered a vibrant boy who once was caught making an omelet when he was 5, explaining that he didn't want to wake his mother.

Solemn attendees filed slowly into the church, some of them couples silently holding hands, at 10 a.m. For nearly two hours, they walked up to the front of the church to view Jean in his casket, as photos from his life were displayed on overhead screens and music played.

Sections of the church were reserved for representatives of Harding University, where Jean studied business, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, where Jean worked. At least 30 ministers from various Churches of Christ attended.

Also present were members of the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

The Rev. Sammie Berry of the West Dallas Church of Christ, who delivered the eulogy, said he appreciated their presence and said he hoped it was a sign that city leaders were committed to getting justice for Jean and his family.

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