POLITICS
18/09/2018 01:05 BST | Updated 18/09/2018 01:06 BST

Sen. Ted Cruz Calls Rival Beto O'Rourke 'Quick' To Blame Dallas Cop Who Killed Botham Jean

"I don’t think we should jump to conclusions," the Republican senator said. The officer has been charged in the fatal shooting of her neighbor.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who are facing off in the U.S. Senate race in November, both weighed in over the weekend on the fatal shooting of a black man by a white off-duty police officer in Dallas on Sept. 6.

At a rally Friday night, O’Rourke agreed with those calling for the firing of officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed her neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Jean, after entering his apartment. Guyger claimed she mistakenly thought she was in her own apartment.

“There has to be a full accounting for how young black men continue to be killed in this country without accountability, without justice, without these full investigations, without respecting their civil rights,” O’Rourke said. “This cannot continue.”

Asked whether Guyger should be fired, the representative said: “I don’t understand, given the actions, how anyone can come to any other conclusion.”

Cruz, in an interview with Fox 26 Houston that aired on Sunday, said O’Rourke and other Democrats were too “quick to always blame the police officer.” 

“I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions,” the senator said. “It may have been just a horrific misunderstanding.” 

Guyger, 30, was returning home from a 12-hour shift in uniform on the evening of Sept. 6 when she walked into Jean’s apartment, which she said she mistook for her own, and shot him twice. According to a Texas Rangers arrest affidavit released Monday, Guyger said she fired her gun after Jean ignored her “verbal commands.” She then called 911.

Jean died later at a hospital.

Guyger was taken into custody on Sept. 9 on a manslaughter warrant and booked in the Kaufman County Jail, southeast of Dallas. 

Cruz called the shooting “a tragic situation.”

“The individual ... was at home in his apartment and found himself murdered,” Cruz said, using a bizarre choice of words. Guyger “may have been in the wrong. She’s facing legal proceedings, and if a jury of her peers concludes that she behaved wrongly, then she’ll face the consequences.”