FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth officer who fatally shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her home this weekend has resigned, the department’s chief said at a news conference Monday.
Police Chief Ed Kraus said he intended to fire Aaron Dean, who had been on the force since April 2018, on Monday morning, but Dean resigned first.
Jefferson’s family called for an independent investigation into the shooting Monday at a news conference with their attorney.
Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s oldest sister, said her sister was simply enjoying life in her home, “where no one would have expected her life to be in harm’s way, especially not at the hands of a civil servant who had taken the oath to serve and protect.”
The family and their attorney, Lee Merritt, called for the federal government to step in and investigate the shooting, citing the department’s several recent officer-involved shootings. Since June 1, Fort Worth officers have killed or wounded seven people, including Jefferson.
Carr, reading a statement from the family, asked for the city of Fort Worth to follow the example of her sister’s character.
She asked the city to “be honorable when it comes to narrating the memory of this beautiful soul.”
“To have integrity and bring the federal government in to investigate,” she continued. “To be committed to a swift and appropriate prosecution. To serve the entire community of Fort Worth by training your officers to execute responses to appropriate situations.”
Cory Hughes, an activist speaking at the news conference, called for the officer who shot Jefferson to be quickly fired and “charged like the criminal that he is.”
“This life mattered. This family matters,” Hughes said. “And we’re demanding justice. We’re not going to wait. We demand justice now.”
Fort Worth police said Dean was set to be interviewed Monday morning. But Kraus, the police chief, said Dean resigned before he answered any questions. He has not been cooperative, Kraus said.
“He resigned before his opportunity to be cooperative,” Kraus said.
On Sunday, police said the officer never announced himself as a police officer before he shot Jefferson through a bedroom window. Her 8-year-old nephew was in the room when she was shot. Jefferson died at the scene.
The nephew saw his aunt fall to the ground after she had been shot, Merritt said at the news conference Monday. The boy will begin counseling this week.
The boy’s mother and one of Jefferson’s older sisters, Amber Carr, said he’s been helping her stay strong since the shooting.
“In the middle of the night when I’m crying, he wakes up and tells me to breathe in my nose, and out my mouth. He holds me, he hugs me,” Amber Carr said. “These are the things that I should be doing for him, but he’s not reacting in that manner.”
Police were called about 2:30 a.m. to the Jefferson’s mother’s home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue after a neighbor, James Smith, called a police non-emergency line to report that the doors to the home were open and all the lights were on.