A Fort Worth,Texas, police officer fatally shot a Black woman in her own home early Saturday while performing a welfare check.
According to the New York Times, the shooting occurred at around 2:30 a.m. when law enforcement responded to an “open structure” report. The Fort Worth Police Department said soon after officers began searching the perimeter, they noticed an individual standing near one of the windows. Body camera footage released by the Fort Worth PD shows an officer inspecting the exterior of the home, before he looks into a window and shouts, “Put your hands up, show me your hands!”
The officer then fired into the home, hitting 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” the department wrote in a press release. “Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency care.”
Law enforcement arrived at the home after a neighbor, James Smith, alerted them about an open front door. The neighbor said he was shocked that the incident turned deadly.
“No domestic violence, no arguing,” Smith told WFAA. “Nothing that they should have been concerned with, as far as them coming with guns drawn to my neighbor’s house. There wasn’t any reason for a gun shot that I know of. She wasn’t a threat.”
The Fort Worth PD did not identify the man who killed Jefferson, but described him as a white officer who has been with the department since April 2018. The department also confirmed the officer has been placed on administrative leave as they conduct an investigation.
The shooting occurred almost two weeks after an ex-Dallas police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murdering Botham Jean—an innocent black man who was gunned down in his own home. Lee Merritt, the civil rights attorney who represented Jean’s family, addressed Jefferson’s shooting via Facebook.
“A Fort Worth, TX police officer just shot 28 year old #AtatianaJefferson ‘Tay’ to death in her own home,” he wrote. “She was playing video games with her nephew when they heard what they believed to be a prowler creeping around the back window of the home. When she went to see what was going on she was confronted by an officer with his gun drawn shouting commands. With just seconds to comply, she was shot through the window. She died from her injuries. This office has been retained to represent this family. We demand justice.”
We’re sick. And we’re tired.
James Smith said he saw the lights on and front doors open at his neighbor’s home overnight. He said he called a non emergency number for a wellness check. Smith said minutes later he heard a gunshot. @wfaa pic.twitter.com/7XYsVBCFz2
— Cleo Greene (@cgreeneWFAA) October 12, 2019