Family and friends gathered on Thursday to say goodbye to Botham Jean as many questions remain about how he died.
One week ago Thursday, Botham was shot and killed inside his own apartment by off-duty Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger.
The funeral for the young professional with a bright future cut short took place at Greenville Avenue Church in Richardson. The viewing began at 10 a.m. with the service itself starting at noon.
One by one, people came down the aisle to say their goodbyes during the viewing. Flower arrangements covered the altar. In the background, there was singing and pictures displayed on two large screens showing photos of Botham with family and friends.
“The sound of the gunshots did not have the resonance to be heard on our small island, but its impact was of nuclear proportions,” said Ignatius Jean, Botham’s uncle. “A nuke was released on our family by someone charged to protect and serve.”
Botham’s uncle said his nephew had big dreams.
“One day, he dreamed of being a politician in our country and possibly prime minister of St. Lucia,” Ignatius said.
The young associate at Price Waterhouse Cooper had a promising career ahead. Tim Ryan, chairman of PWC, said he’s received thousands of messages about Bo, as he was known.
“Botham Jean is a hero. Bo is now a spark. A spark to help others care more. To help others try to put aside their differences,” Ryan said.
Alexius Stossel is a friend from Harding University. He said no one would ever feel left out when Botham was around.
“Botham chose everyone,” Stossel said. “He was the biggest extroverted accountant you would ever find.”
Family friend Dane Felicien believes that Botham would want people to learn something from what happened to him.
“That is what it means to love one another — not overreact with deadly force,” the friend said. “Botham was not a silhouette. He was a Godly man.”
Felicien said Botham’s faith in God was the foundation of his life.
“I will miss him dearly,” said Bertrum Jean, Botham’s dad. “I say to my wonderful wife, thanks for helping me bring this wonderful boy into the world.”
According to court documents, Guyger believed she was entering her own apartment. She claims the door was slightly ajar and that’s when she encountered Botham, who she believed was a burglar and used deadly force.
Two other witnesses have come forward contradicting some of those details. They said they heard knocking on a door and what seemed to be Guyger saying, “let me in.”
Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter on Sunday, but she was able to quickly post bond. The Dallas County District Attorney’s office said it will present the case to a grand jury, who could up the charge to murder.
Instead of flowers, the family would prefer donations to be made to Harding University-the St. Lucia Global Missions Fund.
Botham will be buried in his home country at a later date.