A Fort Worth, Texas police officer resigned Monday morning after fatally shooting a 28-year old black woman through the window of her mother’s home this past weekend.
Police chief Ed Kraus said in a press conference that he had intended to fire Aaron Dean, the officer who shot Atatiana Jefferson early Saturday morning, but Dean resigned first.
The announcement came after a department review of body camera footage — portions of which were also released to the public — found that the officer did not announce himself as a police officer before firing.
In the footage, Dean is shown prowling around outside the house, before going to a window and yelling, “Put your hands up. Show me your hands.” He then suddenly fires through the window at Jefferson.
Officers were responding to a nonemergency call from a neighbor who saw an open front door and lights on at the house. In their initial statement, police said Dean fired after “perceiving a threat.”
Jefferson’s family held a press conference Monday and called for an independent investigation into a “reckless act.”
“She was enjoying a 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 has taken an oath to serve and protect,” Jefferson’s sister Ashley Carr said.
Family attorney Lee Merritt said that Jefferson had been playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew, and approached the window to investigate a noise outside when Dean fired.
Merritt also lambasted the police department’s decision to release blurred still frames of a gun inside a bedroom along with the body cam footage. Officials have not said whether Dean thought Jefferson was holding a gun, nor whether the gun was found near her. Fort Worth Lieutenant Brandon O’Neil refused to comment to reporters Sunday on why police released images of the gun, which was legally owned by Jefferson.
News of the tragedy comes only weeks after the murder trial of Amber Guyger in another high-profile police shooting. Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison after being found guilty of murdering Botham Jean in his own home.