28-Year-Old Black Woman Shot Dead in Her Dallas Home by Forth Worth Police Officer After Neighbour Called Police to Do a Welfare Check

Atatiana Jefferson

A Fort Worth police officer shot and killed a woman inside a home early Saturday after a neighbor reported the front door was open, police said.

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, died about 2:30 a.m. in a home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. Police originally said Jefferson lived at the home, but the medical examiner said she lived in Dallas. Relatives told KXAS-TV (NBC 5) she was in the home with a nephew.

Neighbor James Smith told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he was sorry he’d ever called police.

“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” he told the newspaper. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”

Two officers responded to the neighbor’s call within minutes and began searching outside the home.

Fort Worth police released body-camera footage that shows the officer who opened fire moving around the home, looking through a door and entering what appears to be the backyard with a flashlight.

At the 1:34 mark in the video, the officer in the yard spins toward one of the home’s windows and yells, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before shooting into the window, all in less than 3 seconds.

In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, Fort Worth police said the officer perceived a threat and fired. Officers found a firearm when they entered the bedroom, but it’s unclear whether Jefferson was holding the weapon when she was shot.

Officers began emergency medical treatment, but Jefferson died at the scene, the medical examiner’s office said.

Fort Worth Pastor Michael Bell of the Greater St. Stephen First Church on Saturday criticized police for their characterization of the shooting in their statement, WFAA (ABC 8) reporter Cleo Greene tweeted.

“She had lights on all over,” Bell said. “We’re tired of police lying.”

“It doesn’t say she pointed a weapon; they found one once he went in,” Bell said, according to a video posted by Greene. “The Fort Worth Police Department murdered this woman.”

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SOURCE: Dallas Morning News, Sarah Sarder