Woman Shot and Killed While in Her Home by a Fort Worth Police Officer

October 13, 2019 Updated: October 14, 2019

A woman was shot and killed by a police officer in her Fort Worth home after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to request a welfare check.

Officers with the Fort Worth Police Department responded to the woman’s home at 2:25 a.m. on Saturday, saw a figure in the window, perceived a threat and fired a shot, police said in a statement.

“Responding officers searched the perimeter of the house and observed a person standing inside the residence near a window,” police said. “Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence.”

Police said the officers entered the home and gave the woman medical treatment, but she died at the scene.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the woman as 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson.

Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Jefferson’s family, called her “a kind, brilliant soul.”

“Shot and killed in her own home by the Fort Worth Police Department,” Merritt wrote on Facebook. In a separate post, Merritt said “she was very close to her family. She was the auntie that stayed up on Friday night playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew.”

Jefferson’s neighbor, James Smith, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he called the police after noticing that the doors of her home were open and the lights were on.

“When I saw the doors open, I thought about [the child,] I thought about his grandma, I thought about his aunt,” Smith told the publication. “And I wanted to make sure they were safe. That’s all I wanted to do.”

Smith expressed his shock at the circumstances surrounding Jefferson’s death.

“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” he told the Star-Telegram. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”

Police released body camera footage hours after the shooting. The clip shows officers circulating the perimeter of the home, before spotting a figure at the window. After ordering the person inside to put their hands up, an officer then fires a single shot through the glass.

“The Fort Worth Police Department is releasing available body camera footage to provide transparent and relevant information to the public as we are allowed within the confines of the Public Information Act and forthcoming investigation,” police said.

Local activists held a press conference Saturday, asking the city to hold the officer who fired the shot accountable. Pastor B.R. Daniels Jr. said he wants the police department to stop what he called “shooting first, asking questions later.”

“We want a review of policy, procedures. How do you storm a house, kill a young lady, with an 8-year-old minor in the house, who could have been killed himself,” Daniels said.

In its statement, the Fort Worth police department said that it “shares the deep concerns of the public and is committed to completing an extremely thorough investigation of this critical police incident to its resolution.”

The officer, who joined the department in April 2018, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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