This story is heartbreaking!
28-year-old Black woman shot dead by police at her Texas home.
Firing through a window, a white Fort Worth officer fatally shot a black woman inside her home early Saturday after police were called to the house because its doors were open, according to police and the neighbor who summoned them.
Atatiana Jefferson, 28, died in a bedroom, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Officers responded at 2:25 a.m. to the house in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue. James Smith, who called a non-emergency police number, said he saw the doors were open and the lights were on, which struck him as unusual. He knew Jefferson, his neighbor, was home with her 8-year-old nephew.
Police parked around the corner, and the woman could not see them, according to Smith, 62. About 15 minutes later, he said, he heard a loud bang and saw several more officers rush inside.
Body-worn camera video police released shows two officers using flashlights to check the perimeter of the house, inspecting two doors that are open with closed screen doors. At the back of house, one officer appears to see a figure through a dark window, and he quickly twists his body to the left.
“Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” he shouts through the window, his gun drawn. He then fires a single shot through the window.
In the video, he does not identify himself as an officer.
Jefferson was playing video games with her nephew when they heard what they believed to be a prowler outside, her relatives’ attorney said. When she went to the window to see what was going on, she was shot, the attorney said.
Police said that the officer, who joined the department in April 2018, saw a person standing inside the house near a window.
“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” the department said in a news release. “Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency medical care.”
S. Lee Merritt, an attorney who handles civil rights cases that involve police misconduct allegations, said his office was representing the Jefferson family.
Jefferson worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales, Merritt wrote Saturday 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 [her,]” Merritt wrote. “She was a premed graduate of Xavier University. 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.”
“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,” Merritt wrote.
Jefferson was pronounced dead at the scene. The officer, whose name the department did not release, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, police said.
Smith, who has lived on the street for 50 years, said he had been trying to be a good neighbor, calling police on a non-emergency number so they could check on the residents. But he was wrestling with his emotions after a sleepless night.