Dallas authorities said Tuesday they have identified three suspects in connection with the slaying of Joshua Brown, who was killed during a drug deal gone wrong just days after taking the stand against Amber Guyger.
Police said they have arrested Jacquerious Mitchell, 20, and have issued arrest warrants for Thaddeous Charles Green, 22, and Michael Diaz Mitchell, 32, in connection with Brown’s murder.
Assistant Chief Avery Moore said the three men were buying marijuana from Brown when he was killed, and his death was not related to his testimony during Guyger’s week-long murder trial.
“The rumors shared by community leaders that Mr. Brown’s death was related to the Amber Guyger trial and that the Dallas Police Department was responsible are false,” Moore said. “We encourage those leaders to be mindful because their words may jeopardize the integrity of the city of Dallas and Dallas Police Department.”
Brown, 28, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in a parking lot Friday night, 10 days after testifying about the September night that Guyger, his former neighbor at the South Side Flats apartment complex, killed 26-year-old Botham Jean after mistaking his apartment for her own.
Moore said the trio came from Alexandria, Louisiana, to buy drugs from Brown before the transaction turned into an altercation. Jacquerious Mitchell, who was wounded during the incident and treated at Parkland Hospital, allegedly told authorities that Green fatally shot “Brown twice before taking his backpack and gun.” After dropping Mitchell off at the hospital, the two other suspects fled the state, authorities said.
Several witnesses told authorities they saw a silver, four-door sedan fleeing the parking lot at a high speed after the Friday night shooting at an apartment building about four miles from the South Side Flats complex. Brown was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, but he died from his injuries.
Authorities said about “12 pounds of marijuana, 149 grams of THC cartridges, and $4,157” was seized from Brown’s apartment during an initial search.
All three men will be charged with capital murder, Moore said Tuesday, before calling claims that Brown’s death was connected to the trial or the police department “simply untrue.”
Earlier in the day, Lee Merritt, a civil-rights attorney who represents both the Jean and Brown families, said Brown had repeatedly expressed to prosecutors his apprehension about testifying against Guyger—a move he believed would put his life at risk. He alleged Brown was so afraid to testify that he fled to California the same day the convicted cop’s murder trial began.
Merritt said Monday that Brown, a roofing and property contractor, had previously survived a shooting near a Dallas strip club last November and didn’t want to testify in Jean’s trial out of fear of retribution. Brown even moved out of the apartment complex where Guyger and Jean lived about three months after Jean’s death to keep a “low profile.”
“Josh was concerned that these people still meant him harm, so when he was subpoenaed to testify against Amber Guyger he was conflicted,” Merritt wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “He wanted to do the right thing.”
The attorney alleged prosecutors pressured Brown into testifying, telling him that he was a key witness in Guyger’s trial and would help “to ensure a conviction.” Brown fled the state for California the day the trial began, Merritt said. He returned only after prosecutors “hounded him” and threatened to issue an arrest warrant if he didn’t come back to appear in court, the lawyer explained.
Wearing a Dragon-Ball Z shirt on the stand, Brown told jurors that on the night of Sept. 6, 2018, he was in the fourth-floor hallway of the apartment building when he heard what he thought sounded like “two people meeting by surprise.”
Brown, who lived across from Jean, said he couldn’t hear what was said before two shots were fired.
Guyger was found guilty of murder last week for fatally shooting Jean, an unarmed black man who was sitting on his couch eating vanilla ice cream when the white off-duty cop in uniform entered his apartment. During the trial, Guyger testified she confused Jean’s apartment for her own and believed he was an intruder, shooting at him in self-defense.
“I thought it was my apartment,” Guyger told dispatchers 19 times on the 911 call played in court. “I thought it was my apartment. I’m fucked. Oh my God. I’m sorry.”
Guyger, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week after an emotional two-day hearing that prompted both Jean’s younger brother and the trial judge, Tammy Kemp, to hug the former cop.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.