Update (October 14, 2019): The police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her Fort Worth, Texas, home has resigned, CNN reported.
Aaron Dean was served with an administrative complaint and stripped of his work belongings before resigning.
Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus announced the decision and added the officer could face criminal charges.
“Nobody looked at this video and said that there’s any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately,” Kraus said during a Monday press conference.
According to CNN, had Dean not resigned he would have been fired for multiple violations including the department's use of force and de-escalation policies.
"My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department, however, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met," Kraus said.
Kraus said Dean has refused to cooperate during the investigation, according to New York Daily News. It is not known exactly how Dean has refused to cooperate.
The department presented a case to the FBI for review of possible civil rights violations.
BREAKING: The police officer that killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home has been identified as Aaron Dean. He has since resigned from his post. pic.twitter.com/yilMAQUjbv— Mad World (@MadddWWWorld) October 14, 2019
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said Jefferson’s death was unjustified.
“I'm so sorry. On behalf of the entire city of Fort Worth, I'm sorry,” Price told reporters on Monday. “To Atatiana’s family, it’s unacceptable. There is nothing that can justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.”
Officials said the officers responding to the house didn't park their patrol cars out front, nor did they identify themselves before firing shots.
A picture of a handgun inside the home was also released by the police department. Price said the pictures were "irrelevant."
“I want to address the images that were released picturing the gun inside Ms. Jefferson’s home. A gun is irrelevant. Atatiana was in her own home, caring for her 8-year-old nephew. She was a victim. And she was taken from her family in circumstances that are truly unthinkable,” Price said.
Price added City Manager David Cooke will be leading a team of experts responsible for reviewing the police department.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for both Jefferson's and Botham Jean's family, said her death is inexcusable.
"There was no reason for her to be murdered. None," Merritt said. "We must have justice."
“Why this man is not in handcuffs is a source of continued agitation for this family and for this community,” Merritt added.
Original: A Fort Worth, Texas, police officer fatally shot an unarmed Black woman during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Identified as Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old victim was reportedly home watching her eight-year-old nephew, when law enforcement entered the residence in response to a standard welfare check. Called in by neighbor James Smith, the routine check was initiated over concerns for Jefferson's safety, after Smith noticed the front door of her home had been left ajar.
Here's Smith describing why he decided to call a non-emergency police number around 2 a.m. Saturday: pic.twitter.com/JU4prCelMH— Jack Howland (@JHowl04) October 12, 2019
In the aftermath of the tragic incident, Smith expressed his regrets about calling the authorities.
“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” he told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Fort Worth Police Department
According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram, police bodycam footage reveals two officers checking the perimeter of the property with flashlights. As one officer makes his way to the back of the house, he seemingly responds to movement from "a figure through a dark window."
“'Put your hands up! Show me your hands!' he shouts through the window, his gun drawn. He then fires a single shot through the window. In the video, he does not identify himself as an officer," Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The "dark figure" has now been purported to be Jefferson, who had been playing video games with her nephew, when she overheard a mysterious sound — the sound of police entering her backyard in the wee hours of the morning.
A North Texas cop just murdered another law abiding citizen in their home. Her name was #AtatianaJefferson “Tay”. She was playing video games with her 8y/o nephew, when they heard a noise in the backyard. When Tay went to investigate, she was shot to death. pic.twitter.com/mFJ1O2TNMK— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 12, 2019
According to CNN, the officer then opened fire on the person they saw through the window. A Tarrant County Medical Examiner concluded Jefferson died around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning in the bedroom. The department has yet to release the name of the officer. However, authorities did confirm the officer was Caucasian and has been on the force since April 2018.
Obvious parallels between the news of Jefferson's death and the recent killing of Botham Jean, another unarmed Black person whose demise came at the hands of Texas police, has inspired many to take to social media, distraught and outraged over yet another police-involved shooting.
She was 28 years old . She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana. She was black excellence . She was black girl magic . She had her whole life ahead of her #TayJefferson #AtatianaJefferson #SayHerName pic.twitter.com/LgjOqZhiKW— ✨MaryKatherine✨ (@Princess_mmmmkk) October 13, 2019
When we tell you we don’t have to be anything other than Black to be killed by those sworn to “serve and protect,” believe us. The first time.— brittany packnett (@MsPackyetti) October 13, 2019
You’re denial continues to harm us, because the police keep killing us.
Just for existing. #AtatianaJefferson https://t.co/Cv865G7Nfe
Fort Worth police killed 26 people since 2013, 30% higher rate than the national average. They killed black people at 2x higher rate than whites. And their use of force policy doesn’t require officers to use available non-lethal alternatives to shooting people. #AtatianaJefferson https://t.co/qWN149hBJG— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) October 12, 2019
This is Atatiana Jefferson. She was 28 yrs old, a graduate of Xavier Univ. and lived w/ her nephew.— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) October 13, 2019
A Fort Worth, TX cop shot and killed her thru her window as she stood peacefully and unarmed in her own home.
Black people are subject to deadly force even when they stay home. pic.twitter.com/09dA2nl3v5
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price released a statement, sending her condolences to the victim's family.
"Writing a statement like this is tragic and something that should never be necessary," Price reportedly texted to a WBAP/KLIF News reporter. "A young woman has lost her life, leaving her family in unbelievable grief. All of Fort Worth must surround Atatiana Jefferson’s family with prayers, love and support. Chief Kraus and his command staff are acting with immediacy and transparency to conduct a complete and thorough investigation. More details are forthcoming and the Tarrant County District Attorney Law Enforcement Incident Team office will ultimately receive this case."
The officer responsible for the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.