Fired Fort Worth Officer Who Fatally Shot Atatiana Jefferson in Her Home Charged With Murder

national, October 2019

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Fort Worth Police Department officer who fired into a home, killing Atatiana Jefferson, has been charged with murder.

Aaron Dean, 34, was booked into jail Monday afternoon. Online court records show the now-fired officer was booked into the Tarrant County jail and charged with murder. A bond has not been set.

Authorities held a press conference Monday to release more information about their investigation into this shooting, and Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus announced that Dean had resigned.

Chief Kraus added that he was going to meet with Dean Monday morning to fire him for violating the use of force policy, de-escalation policy, and for unprofessional conduct, but he resigned before that.

“[Jefferson’s] father called this shooting senseless, and I certainly have not been able to make sense of why [Jefferson] had to lose her life. On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Worth Police Department, I’m so sorry for what occurred. You, Atatiana’s family and friends, have my apologies, my condolences, and my prayers,” Kraus said.

Dean, who has been an officer with Fort Worth PD since April 2018, could face criminal charges. Kraus said he expected to have an update on that criminal investigation by Tuesday.

Fort Worth PD has also contacted the FBI to review the officer’s actions for possible civil rights violations.

The other officer who responded with Dean is being treated as a witness in the criminal and administrative investigations. Chief Kraus also assured the public that he is demanding a “thorough, transparent, and speedy investigation” into Jefferson’s death.

“I get it. Nobody looked at that video and said there is any doubt this officer acted inappropriately. I get it. We are trying to train our officers better, shore up our policies and make sure they act and react the way the citizens intend them to,” Kraus added.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price also spoke, and gave condolences to Jefferson’s family, adding that there was nothing that could have justified what happened Sunday morning.

“We are all heartbroken today. Atatiana was a beautiful, smart, amazing young woman, by all accounts, who was unjustly taken from her family,” Price said. “On behalf of the whole city of Fort Worth, I’m sorry.”

Jefferson’s family had previously called for the officer involved to be terminated. Jefferson was killed after a neighbor called a non-emergency line at 2:30 a.m. Saturday after seeing the door open at Jefferson’s home.

Fort Worth police released portions of the body camera video. It shows the officer walking around the perimeter of the house with a flashlight and gun drawn.

Investigators say when he got to the back window, he saw someone standing inside the home.

After “perceiving a threat,” the officer can be heard saying, “Put your hands up. Show me your hands,” before immediately shooting through the window at the person inside.

The officer did not announce that he was a police officer before shooting. A single shot was fired, killing Jefferson.

Her 8-year-old nephew was in the same room at the time.

After the shooting, police said a gun was found in the home, but gave no context as to where it was when the shooting happened. As part of the body camera video, they included a picture of the gun.

During Monday’s press conference, Mayor Price addressed that information, saying it’s “irrelevant,” adding that Jefferson was a “victim” who was in her own home, taking care of her nephew.