A Texas officer who fatally shot a woman in her home over the weekend while responding to a call about an open front door, has been charged with murder, authorities said on Oct. 14.
The 34-year-old Fort Worth police officer, Aaron Dean, who resigned shortly before his murder charge, was jailed on $200,000 bond after the police chief said he acted without justification and would have been fired if he hadn’t quit.
Body camera footage released by Fort Worth police showed the moment Dean approached the home of his victim, Atatiana Jefferson, 28, who was looking after her 8-year-old nephew early on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Dean, who had been a member of the force for one-and-a-half years, then walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-off backyard, and fired through the glass a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands.
Dean can be heard shouting, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before firing.
The police department said in a statement Dean drew his gun and fired after “perceiving a threat” at the home.
Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said the footage did not indicate Dean, or another officer who responded, had knocked on the front door. Audio from the clips do not seem to show that Dean identified himself as a police officer, he said.
“Nobody looked at this video and said that there’s any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately,” Kraus said.
Dean was booked into the Tarrant County Jail on Monday evening charged with Jefferson’s death.
In a statement, Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson’s family, said her relatives are “relieved” Dean has been arrested and charged with murder.
The family of Atatiana Jefferson is relieved that Aaron Dean has been arrested & charged with murder. We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing. The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing. pic.twitter.com/IG1nZLo1T5
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 15, 2019
“We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing. The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing,” he wrote on Twitter.
Jefferson’s brother, Adarius Carr, told CNN he hopes more will be done, adding that “this is only the start.”
“There’s no way this is enough. We know this is a good step in the direction where we want to go, but it’s definitely not the end.”
According to Merritt, Jefferson was working in pharmaceutical equipment sales after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Xavier University in New Orleans in 2014. She had hopes to enroll in medical school, he added.
Jail records do not list an attorney for Dean.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.