Atatiana Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew told authorities that moments before she was shot and killed by former Fort Worth Texas police officer Aaron Dean, she grabbed her gun to defend herself and pointed it toward a window because she heard a noise outside.
Interim chief of Fort Worth police Ed Kraus believes it was the homeowner’s right, and defends the decision that ultimately cost Jefferson her life.
“It’s only appropriate that Ms. Jefferson would have a gun,” Kraus said at a news conference Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Kraus contends that it “makes sense” that Jefferson was armed.
“When you think there’s someone prowling around in the back at 2:00 a.m. in the morning, you may need to arm yourself. That person could have a gun.”
Police spoke to Jefferson’s nephew who was an eyewitness to the killing. Jefferson was playing video games with her nephew in the wee hours of the morning. The boy told authorities he and his aunt were together in a room playing about 2:30 a.m., Saturday morning.
According to the boy, after Jefferson heard noises outside of her East Allen Avenue home, she took a gun from her purse and headed towards a window.
Jefferson, 28, pointed it “toward the window” and was shot and killed, the nephew said, according to the arrest-warrant affidavit.
The nephew watched as his aunt fell to the ground. She was pronounced dead at 3:05 a.m.
It “makes sense that she would have a gun if she felt that she was being threatened or there was someone in the backyard,” Kraus said.
Lee Merritt, the attorney for Jefferson’s family shared that sentiment that the victim was within her right to bear arms.
“It’s only appropriate that Ms. Jefferson would have a gun,” Merritt said.
“When you think there’s someone prowling around in the back at 2 in the morning, you may need to arm yourself. That person could have a gun.” Merritt said Jefferson also had a license to legally carry the firearm.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, the lawyer for the Jefferson family, discusses city leaders’ reactions to the deadly shooting of Atatiana Jefferson.
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Merritt is concerned that the Fort Worth police are forming a narrative to give Dean a justification for the shooting by saying Jefferson pointed the gun toward a window.
“Suddenly, they’re building the defense in the arrest warrant itself for the officer, alleging that Atatiana pointed a weapon out of the window,” the lawyer said.
Merritt also noted that the warrant fails to mention that Jefferson pointed a gun toward a window, if that’s the case. He says Dean’s partner could only see the woman’s face before Dean fired the fatal shot.
Adarius Carr, Jefferson’s brother says the family wants justice and accountability from the Fort Worth police force.
“This rookie cop is not going to be the scapegoat for what happened. Yes, he’s going to take his punishment, but the system failed him,” he said. “Whoever sent him out failed him. The training failed him. There’s a lot that has to get fixed. The city failed him.”
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price defended Jefferson and dismissed the gun narrative.
“She was in her own home,” the mayor said about Jefferson. “She was taken from her family in circumstances that are truly unthinkable.”
Dean was charged with murder after fatally shooting Jefferson on Saturday. He is out of jail on a $200,000 bond.
Dean has since resigned from the department following the national outcry from the victim’s family and activists who marched and demanded transparency and his immediate firing. But before Interim Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus could fire Dean, he quit.
Dean’s attorney, Jim Lane, told KXAS-TV (NBC5) that his client is “sorry.”
This is a developing story.