Police Shooting

Fort Worth police officer shoots and kills woman inside her home

Fort Worth police officer shoots and kills woman inside her home

Atatiana Jefferson
Atatiana Jefferson. Courtesy photo

UPDATE 10-14-2019: The police officer has been identified as Aaron Dean. At a press conference on October 14, interim police chief Ed Kraus said that Dean has resigned from the police department.

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A Fort Worth police officer shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, in her home on October 12 at approximately 2:30 am.

The officer, who has not been identified, is white.

Police were called to the house by a neighbor who spotted that the doors were open and made a non-emergency call requesting a welfare check.

Jefferson was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew, who was also in the house.

The Fort Worth Police Department issued a release that outlined what happened. They also released a photo of what they said was a gun inside the house, as well as footage from a bodycam worn by the officer that showed the shooting.

The bodycam video shows two officers quietly walking around outside the house in the dark. In the segment that's circulating, one officer wielding a gun reacts when he sees someone in the house.

"Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" he shouts, then immediately fires a shot through the window.

Lawyer Lee Merritt, who is said to be representing the family, posted about Atatiana on Facebook.

"Before law enforcement goes about their pattern of villainizing this beautiful peaceful woman, turning her into a suspect, a silhouette, or threat, let me tell you about 28 y/o #AtatianaJefferson 'Tay', his post said.

"She was a premed graduate of Xavier University," Merritt said. "She was very close to her family. She was the auntie that stayed up on Friday night playing video games with her 8 year old nephew. She worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales. Her mom had recently gotten very sick, so she was home taking care of the house and loving her life. There was no reason for her to be murdered. None. We must have justice."

The president at Xavier University, Reynold Verret, issued a statement saying "We are deeply dismayed by the news of another African American killed in her home by the police, in Fort Worth, Texas. This time, she is one of our Xavier University of Louisiana alumna, very close to our heart, Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, B.S. in Biology 2014."

"We should expect safety when we call on our police, whose mission is to protect and serve," Verret said. "We know that many officers live out their calling and duty to their communities. Despite this, recent events demonstrate clearly that there is an urgent need to fix a law enforcement system and philosophy that is broken for some."

Supporters held a candlelight vigil on October 13, where Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said there would be a third-party investigation.