The father of a Fort Worth, Texas woman, who was shot dead by police as she played video games inside of her home with her nephew, has died.
Marquis Jefferson, the 59-year-old father of Atatiana Jefferson, went into cardiac arrest Friday night and was taken to a Dallas hospital where he died, family spokesman Bruce Carter told CNN. Atatiana was Marquis’ only child.
“He ultimately just succumbed to, I don’t know, I can only say a broken heart,” Carter said, according to CNN. “He just never recovered from the grieving process.”
It was clear how much Atatiana Jefferson, whom Marquis called “Tay,” was loved just by the way her dad spoke of her during a press conference after her death.
Jefferson told reporters Tay, was “love.”
“And that smile? Lord have mercy,” he said last month, according to CNN. “It could brighten up any room.”
Early in the morning on Oct. 12, Jefferson, 28, was playing video games with her nephew when police arrived at her home. A concerned neighbor had called a non-emergency police number after he noticed his neighbor’s door was ajar.
Officers reportedly walked around the house but when Jefferson heard a noise in her backyard, CNN reports she pulled a gun from her purse and pointed it at the window, according to police.
Aaron Dean, a former Fort Worth officer, yelled “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before he fired through the window killing her, according to his body camera footage.
Not once did Dean or the other officer identify that they were police. It is likely that Jefferson thought they were burglars.
Dean, who resigned from the police force shortly after the killing, has been charged with murder. Dean also has not yet given police investigators a statement on the incident, which is customary for officers in similar situations to do.
After the shooting, the neighbor who called police for a wellness check, told KTVT he felt awful for calling the police. “Had I not called the Fort Worth Police Department, my neighbor would still be alive today,” he said.
A week later, a Dallas County judge gave Marquis Jefferson a temporary restraining order which granted him full authority to make funeral and burial arrangements for his daughter, CNN reported. Carter told CNN that Jefferson had a good relationship with his daughter’s mother but sought the order so he could be included in the arrangements.
“He was battling to be a part of her life to the end,” Carter said, according to CNN. “I think it just got the best of him.”
Atatiana Jefferson graduated from Xavier University five years ago, earning a degree in biology. She had recently moved back home so she could care for her ailing mother.