White Fort Worth officer resigns after killing black woman

  • Amber Carr, center, wipes a tear as her sister, Ashley Carr, left, and attorney Lee Merritt, right, listen to their brother Adarius Carr talk about their sister, Atatiana Jefferson during a news conference Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 in downtown Dallas. The family of the 28-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth home as she played video games with her 8-year-old nephew expressed outrage that the officer has not been arrested or fired. (Irwin Thompson/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Irwin Thompson

  • A bullet hole could be seen in the back window outside the Fort Worth home Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, where a 28-year-old black woman was shot to death by a white police officer on Saturday. Members of the community have brought tributes to the home where Atatiana Jefferson was killed early Saturday by an officer who was responding to a neighbor's report of an open door. (AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg) Jake Bleiberg

  • Bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals are piling up outside the Fort Worth home Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, where a 28-year-old black woman was shot to death by a white police officer. Members of the community have brought tributes to the home where Atatiana Jefferson was killed early Saturday by an officer who was responding to a neighbor's report of an open door. (AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg) Jake Bleiberg

  • A large crowd of protesters, including a man carrying an upside-down American flag, gather outside the house where Atatiana Jefferson was shot Saturday and killed by police, during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • A large crowd of protesters gather outside the house, right, where Atatiana Jefferson was shot Saturday and killed by police, during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • Protesters gather outside the house, right, where Atatiana Jefferson was shot Saturday and killed by police, during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • Destinie and Floriberto Bartolo mourn for their friend Atatiana Jefferson, who they say they have known since high school, outside the house where Jefferson was shot and killed by a police officer, during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • Carol Harrison-Lafayette protests the police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • Fort Worth Police Lt. Brandon O'Neil addresses a news conference regarding the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • Fort Worth Police Lt. Brandon O'Neil shakes hands with Roger Foggle after addressing a news conference regarding the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

  • Trinity Ford, 4, joins the crowd gathered during a community vigil for Atatiana Jefferson on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. Dallas Morning News via AP

  • Protesters left flowers outside the house, in the background, where Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed, durin a community vigil for Atatiana Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Smiley N. Pool

Published: 10/14/2019 5:15:21 PM

A white Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman in her home while responding to a call about an open front door acted inappropriately and resigned before he could be fired, the police chief said Monday.

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was killed in front her of 8-year-old nephew, cut down by a bullet fired through her window early Saturday. Police bodycam video showed that Aaron Dean did not identify himself as an officer and fired a split-second after shouting at the woman to show her hands.

Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said Dean would have been fired if he had not quit. He said a criminal investigation is underway and he expects an update by Tuesday on whether the officer – a member of the force for 1½ years – will be charged.

“Nobody looked at this video and said that there’s any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately,” Kraus said.

Earlier in the day, Jefferson’s family had demanded that Dean be fired and arrested.

“Why this man is not in handcuffs is a source of continued agitation for this family and for this community,” family attorney Lee Merritt said.

Police went to Jefferson’s home about 2:25 a.m. after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report that her front door had been left open. In a statement over the weekend, the department said officers saw someone near a window inside the home and that one of them drew his gun and fired after “perceiving a threat.”

The body camera video released by police showed Dean shouting, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” and immediately firing.

The video included images of a gun inside a bedroom. The police chief on Monday said he had no information on whether Jefferson was holding it when she was shot. And he said that in hindsight, releasing the images was “a bad thing to do,” noting that many Texas homeowners keep guns nearby for self-defense.

The family lawyer said Jefferson was staying up late, playing video games with her nephew, when she was killed.

A large crowd gathered outside Jefferson’s home Sunday night for a vigil after earlier demonstrations briefly stopped traffic on Interstate 35. A single bullet hole was visible in the window of the single-story, freshly painted purple home, and floral tributes and stuffed animals piled up in the street.

The police chief said that Dean could face state criminal charge and that he has also submitted a case to the FBI to review for possible federal civil rights charges.

Dean has not yet hired an attorney but will have one provided with financial support from the state’s largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, according to Charley Wilkison, executive director.

Fort Worth is about 30 miles west of Dallas, where another high-profile police shooting occurred last year.

In that case, white Dallas police officer Amber Guyger shot and killed her black neighbor Botham Jean inside his own apartment after Guyger said she mistook his place for her own. Guyger, 31, was sentenced this month to 10 years in prison.




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