The lawyer representing Atatiana Jefferson’s family announced funeral plans for the young Black woman who was killed when a Fort Worth police officer shot into her bedroom window over the weekend. The home going plans were announced as Jefferson’s family continued to mourn the loss of someone they called a “kind” and loving person who routinely put others ahead of her own needs.
Jefferson’s wake and funeral will be held in Dallas on Friday and Saturday, respectively, according to S. Lee Merritt, who tweeted out the announcement Wednesday morning. Merritt wrote that the funeral would be open to the public and was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Both services were set to take place at Potter’s House of Dallas, a church led by Pastor T.D. Jakes.
While the funeral will symbolize closure, Jefferson’s family said it was still having a hard time with the “shock” of losing a loved one in such a violent fashion that was through no fault of her own.
“This loss is one of the most unbelievable things you can ever imagine – to know that your sister was doing what she normally does and got killed for it,” Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s older sister, told USA TODAY in an interview that was published on Wednesday. “It’s hard to keep on going. Right now, it’s just really hard.”
Jefferson, 28, enjoyed playing video games, something she was doing with her 8-year-old nephew when now-resigned Fort Worth police Officer Aaron Dean shot her. She also loved science, got straight As in school and was a good friend, family members recalled. It was especially because of that kindness that Jefferson’s family said they were having a hard time with her death.
“The Jefferson family’s dreams have been shattered,” Lapaca Jefferson, her uncle, said. “It’s a great shock.”
The shooting has raised tensions between the black community and the Fort Worth Police Department. Especially after the police initially seemed to suggest that the shooting was warranted by bringing attention to the fact that cops found a gun near her lifeless body after Dean killed her. (Nevermind that Jefferson was legally permitted to own a firearm in a state that allows citizens to openly carry their guns in public.)
Merritt took exception with the police making a concerted effort to refer to Jefferson’s gun while announcing the shooting. He previously said it was “reckless and irresponsible” and villainized the actual victim.
“It’s something the community has seen over and over again where the character of the victim gets called into question,” Merritt said during a press conference hours after Jefferson was killed on Saturday. “There was nothing nefarious or illegal about owning a firearm and they presented in nowhere that firearm was contributory towards the use of deadly force here.”