The nephew of a 28-year-old black woman who was fatally shot by a police officer in her home says she drew a gun after hearing suspicious noises outside her house.
According to an arrest warrant for ex-Fort Worth officer Aaron York Dean, Atatiana Jefferson was playing video games with the 8-year-old nephew early Saturday morning when they “heard noises coming from outside,” the boy told police. The boy said Jefferson “took her handgun from her purse” to investigate the noise.
Someone was standing outside the house, peering into the window, the boy told investigators. According to the arrest report, Jefferson “raised her handgun and pointed it toward the window.” Within seconds, she was shot dead, allegedly by Dean.
The shooting occurred when Fort Worth police responded to a welfare call in the 1200 block of E. Allen Avenue at around 2:30 a.m. A neighbor called authorities to report Jefferson’s front door was open, according to CNN.
The neighbor who called police used the department’s non-emergency line and asked for a wellness check out of concern for her safety.
“What I witnessed was three or four tactical officers come from around the corner … And in less than a minute, I heard gunshots,” the neighbor, James Smith, said, according to CBS News.
Body-camera footage, released by the police and shared by multiple outlets, showed two officers walking around the side of the house as one officer approached a closed first-floor window with a flashlight. After raising his gun, the officer screamed, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”
The officer, later identified as Dean, apparently never identified himself as police before firing.
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Fort Worth interim police chief Ed Kraus told reporters on Tuesday that Jefferson legally owned her firearm. He appeared to defend Jefferson’s actions, saying “it makes sense that she would have a gun if she felt she was being threatened or if there was someone in the backyard.”
“There is absolutely no excuse for this incident,” he continued. “And the person responsible will be held accountable.”
Dean is currently being held in the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth on a $200,000 bond, inmate records state. It was not immediately clear if the former cop has obtained an attorney yet.
Jefferson’s family has created a GoFundMe page to cover “funeral costs and other expenses associated with this tragedy.”