‘Every Hallway, Looks Pretty Much the Same’: Texas State Trooper Shoots Black Neighbor After Mistaking Him for Home Intruder In Incident Resembling Botham Jean Case

State officials and Houston police are investigating an incident where an off-duty Texas State Trooper shot his neighbor after mistaking him for a home intruder.

Houston police said the shooting happened shortly after midnight on Monday at a high-rise apartment building in the downtown area.

Houston police briefed the press on an incident at a high-rise apartment building in the downtown area where an off-duty Texas state trooper shot his neighbor after mistaking him for a home intruder. (Photo: Twitter/Houston Police)

The trooper told police that he was inside his own apartment when he heard someone at his front door trying to break in. So the trooper fired his gun one time through the door. A bullet struck the man in his right shoulder. First responders found him on a different floor and took him to the hospital. Police say he’s expected to survive the wound.

Related: When Your Privilege Runs Out: Amber Guyger’s Appeal Denied for the Second Time In Three Months, Judge Upholds Her Sentence for Botham Jean’s Slaying

In a briefing, police called the man who was shot a “suspect” and described him as a Black man in his 30s, but the building’s ownership group released a statement clarifying that the burglary suspect in question was actually a resident who lives in the building on a different floor. The company believes it was strictly a case of mistaken identity.

“At approximately 12:20 a.m. this morning (September 25th), an incident occurred involving two residents at 500 Crawford Apartments. The Houston Police Department investigation is still ongoing, but at this point, we believe the incident to be a case of one resident mistaking another resident’s apartment as their own. While the first resident attempted to gain access to the wrong apartment, the other resident – who we are told is a member of local law enforcement – fired through the door, striking the resident in the shoulder. It is our understanding that the resident who was injured is in stable condition at a local hospital. The Finger Companies is fully cooperating with the HPD investigation and will release additional information as it becomes available.”

Police haven’t identified the shooting victim or the trooper. Details also haven’t been released on how the victim tried to “break in” to the apartment, but police say there’s no evidence that he tried to burglarize nearby apartments. There’s also no word on if any charges will be filed.

“We don’t know why he was at that apartment, but the initial assessment is that trooper believed he was trying to break in,” Houston Assistant Police Chief Yasar Bashir said. “The suspect, we believe, was trying to get into the apartment, and the trooper did give several commands to him to get away, and we believe he still tried to make entry.”

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Local news outlet ABC13 spoke with one resident who requested anonymity and said that the hallways on each floor look so similar that it’s easy for residents to mix up which floor is their own at times.

“(I) tried to use my key on the unit that’s one floor above. It’s pretty easy to do here because every floor, every hallway, looks pretty much the same,” the resident said. “It still doesn’t make me feel great that potentially in the case of myself going on to the wrong floor, using my key in the wrong apartment. I just don’t want that happening to me.”

The Houston Police Department and the Texas Rangers are still investigating the incident.

This case poses a similar resemblance to the Botham Jean case in Dallas. Jean was murdered by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger in 2018 after Guyger entered Jean’s apartment, mistaking it for her own, and shot and killed him in the belief that he was an intruder. Both Guyger and Jean lived in the same apartment building, but Guyger lived on a different floor.

Jean, who was 26 at the time, was sitting in his living room, watching television and eating ice cream when he was shot. Guyger was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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