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'PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY!' Heartbreaking Tributes for Youth Pastor Shot and Killed by Police in His Own Home


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Family, friends and even strangers are paying tribute to Botham Jean, the unarmed African American man killed by police last Thursday.

Jean, 26, was fatally shot inside his apartment by Dallas police office Amber Guyger, who says she mistook his apartment for her own.

Students at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where Jean recently graduated, remembered him Monday night at a candlelight vigil.

"As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people," reads a post on the school's Twitter page. "During this time at Harding, Botham Shem Jean encouraged us with his leadership through worship. Tonight, we honored his life by encouraging one another to worship."

A video shows students singing songs such as the popular Christian anthem, "Ten Thousand Reasons."

Harding University President Bruce McLarty shared in a post on Twitter Monday night, "We gathered on the Benson steps to grieve the death of Botham Jean, to remember the way he touched our lives and to worship God the way Botham so often led us in doing. There is a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place."

Jean loved music and often led worship during chapel at the university as part of the group called Good News Singers.

He also served as worship leader and youth pastor at his Dallas church.

Jessica Berry, who says she regularly sat next to Jean at the Dallas West Church of Christ, tells CBN News she's struggling to make sense of it all. 

"You can't believe that he's gone so suddenly and the way that he left this earth," she said. 

She says when Jean joined the congregation several years ago, he got right to work. 

"He was a humble spirit, but he wasn't the one to step on any toes or try to take over," Berry explained. 

Berry says some people join a church looking for ways they can be served, but not with Jean. 

"Botham came in and said, 'This is what I can do for Dallas West'" she recalled.  

Throughout the course of their friendship, Berry credits Jean for helping her learn the true meaning of worship.
"There wasn't a song that he sung halfheartedly. He believed in connecting with God during worship," she said. 

Berry says Jean would always be the first one to step up and lead; now she says it's her turn to step up and be an advocate on his behalf.   

"This situation will not go away; it will not become stale," she vowed. "Botham would not want that. If this happened to anybody else and Botham was still alive, he would still be talking about it." 

And she's not alone. Jean's death has captured national attention, with many calling for justice.

Christian pastor John Gray responded to Jean's tragic death on Instagram where urged prayers for his family.

"Please PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY," said Gray.  "GOD, HELP.... I have no other words for this prayer."


I’m weary. Now you’re not safe IN YOUR OWN HOUSE! @grayceeme reposted and I’m doing the same. When will this MADNESS END?! Jesus CHRIST.... #Repost @grayceeme ・・・ What’s the right and necessary response to this? You are in YOUR HOME, you hear someone fiddling with YOUR DOOR, you respond because it’s strange and YOU end up Dead on a random day!?!? Great man, had a future, and now it’s just OOPS? REALLY? Isn’t his life and countless others worth more than OOPS, it was a mistake. TIRED! I remember asking in 2012 after #Trayvon Martin... how does this happen, now 6 years later...same question...Please PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY! GOD, HELP...I have no other words for this prayer. Repost @robertmadu with @get_repost ・・・ Please pray for the family of Botham Shem Jean. I’m heartbroken and completely confused about how in the world this happened last night (in my city). I realize this is still under investigation but so many questions MUST be answered. If you don’t have the cognitive aptitude to recognize YOUR OWN apartment, you should NOT be a Police officer. #bothemshemjean

A post shared by John Gray (@realjohngray) on

"So tragic, prayers," responded someone named vici10bear.

Meanwhile, Guyger was arrested three days after the shooting and charged with manslaughter.

Her arrest came after mounting pressure from Jean's family and the community for her to be charged in his death.

Funeral services for Jean are planned for Thursday.


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About The Author

Charlene Aaron

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter, backup news anchor, and co-host of The Prayerlink on the CBN News Channel. She covers various social issues, such as abortion, gender identity, race relations, and more. Before joining CBN News in 2003, she was a personal letter writer for Dr. Pat Robertson. Charlene attended Old Dominion University and Elizabeth City State University. She is an ordained minister and pastor’s wife. She lives in Smithfield, VA, with her husband.