Fort Worth Officer Resigns After Fatally Shooting Atatiana Jefferson in Her Home
A Fort Worth Police Department officer has resigned after public outcry following the fatal shooting of a woman in her own home Saturday morning.
Our partners at News 10 and the Associated Press report that officer Aaron Dean resigned Monday. Fort Worth PD Interim Chief Ed Kraus said at a news conference that Dean would have been fired had he not resigned. Dean had been with the department since April of 2018.
Dean fatally shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson early Saturday morning while responding to a call from a concerned neighbor.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the neighbor called a non-emergency line around 2:30 AM on October 12 and requested a welfare check because a door to Jefferson's house was open and the home's lights were on. The call was apparently dispatched instead as an "open structure" call, which Chief Kraus said at a news conference requires a more heightened response than a welfare check.
Chief Kraus said (and bodycam footage reveals) that former officer Dean approached a window of the home and demanded that Jefferson put her hands up before firing. At no point did he identify himself as an officer.
WARNING: Shots are fired at the 1:26 mark in the video below and are loud.
Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who witnessed her shooting.
The video above contains two stills highlighting the fact that there was a weapon in the room, but it isn't clear if Jefferson was anywhere near the weapon when she was shot. NBC News reports that police have declined to comment on why the images were included in the video.
An attorney for Jefferon's family said Jefferson had a license to carry, and that weapon was legally owned.
In a public address, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price apologized to Jefferson's family, the neighbor who called for the welfare check, and the entire city.
"Lastly," Mayor Price said, "The images released showing a gun inside Ms. Jefferson's home...the gun is irrelevant. She was in her own home caring for an 8-year-old nephew. Atatiana was a victim. She was taken from her family in circumstances that are truly unthinkable."
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Texas Rangers may be called in to investigate the shooting, and that Chief Kraus has talked to the FBI about possibly involvement as well.