The fatal shooting of a key witness in the murder trial of ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger had some speculating that it might’ve been related to his testimony. But Dallas police said Tuesday that it was actually part of a drug deal gone wrong, and they’ve identified three suspects.
Joshua Brown was fatally shot multiple times as he was getting out of his car in the parking lot near his apartment Friday night, two weeks after he’d testified at Guyger’s trial. Brown lived in the same Dallas apartment building as Guyger and Botham Jean, the man she murdered, in September 2018. But it was a different apartment complex, about six miles away, where Brown was shot last week. Witnesses described a silver sedan speeding away. Brown died at a nearby hospital.
His death poured salt in a wound that’s still very fresh for Dallas’ black residents — Guyger was white, Jean was black — and left some people speculating Brown’s death was in retaliation for his testimony in the highly watched trial last month. Lee Merritt, a lawyer working with his family, said Brown’s death was “suspicious.”
“I assure you that is simply not true,” Dallas Deputy Chief Avery Moore said of the retaliation rumors during a press conference Tuesday.
Police said that they seized 12 pounds of marijuana from Brown’s apartment and have since issued arrest warrants to try to nab two Louisiana-based suspects — Thaddeous Green, 22, and Michael Mitchell, 32 — for his suspected murder. Police believe Brown, who also had a gun that night and allegedly shot first, was distributing the drugs.
The men allegedly drove from Alexandria, Louisiana, to buy drugs from Brown. A “physical altercation” ensued after Green began talking to Brown, according to Moore.
Dallas police already arrested Jacquerious Mitchell, a 20-year-old who was at the scene that night, Moore said.
At Guyger’s trial in late September, Brown testified that he heard gunshots one night outside his apartment unit and witnessed Guyger pacing and crying on the phone. Guyger, a veteran of the city’s police force, had just mistakenly walked into Jean’s apartment, apparently thinking it was her own, and taken him for an intruder. She pulled out her gun, allegedly commanded that Jean put his hands in the air, and shot him. Brown lived just across the hall at the time, and testified that he’d heard no such commands — just gunshots.
Last week, Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder.
Brown had been shot another time, in November 2018, a month after Jean’s death, as the result of a fight outside a local strip club. Another man was killed in that attack.
Cover: In this Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, photo, victim Botham Jean's former neighbor Joshua Brown, left, answers questions from Assistant District Attorney LaQuita Long, right, while pointing to a map of the South Side Flats where he lived at the time, while testifying during the murder trial of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, in Dallas. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.