The woman shot a white Fort Worth police officer murder was holding a gun after she heard noises outside her window, according to the arrest warrant for the officer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Holding a gun inside your home is not illegal in Texas, and the officer Aaron Dean, who resigned on Monday, was arrested. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the gun was irrelevant to the investigation. In Texas, homeowners have a right to be armed on their own property, she said.
A witness, the woman’s 8-year-old nephew, told a forensic interviewer that after Atatiana Jefferson heard noises outside their home Saturday and thought there might be a prowler in the back yard, she reached into her purse, grabbed a handgun and pointed it toward the window, the warrant said.
That’s when Dean shot Jefferson through the window and she fell to the ground. According to the warrant, Dean and a fellow officer never announced their presence. Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said it made sense that Jefferson had a gun if she felt threatened by an unknown person being in her yard.
He called Dean’s actions inexcusable. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jefferson family, questioned whether Dean saw a gun at all, noting that the window was covered by blinds, it was dark outside, and Dean never said “gun” before firing, as officers are trained to do. Dean’s own bodycam video showed that the view through the glass was obstructed by the reflection from his flashlight.
Meanwhile, the shooting has spurred debate over police tactics. On any given day, police respond to thousands of non-emergency calls asking them to check on someone’s home. Most such visits prove uneventful. Experts in law enforcement training and tactics say the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson raises many questions, The Associated Press reported earlier this week.