Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed on Oct. 12, 2019 by former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean. Sadly, the only victim isn’t just the Jefferson, but it is her 8-year-old nephew Zion. She was playing video games with him when she was killed.
Lee Merritt, the attorney for the Jefferson family, told Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “His mom tells me that she can see little changes in his character. Now when entering a room, he’ll kind of wait and watch the adults go in first. He’ll wait to see if the coast is clear and then he’ll enter.”
In addition, Zion “was taken by Texas Child Protective Services early Saturday after his aunt was killed, Merritt said. He had been living with Jefferson in Fort Worth while his mother, a Dallas resident, was going through home occupational therapy after open heart surgery.”
Merritt said when Zion was picked up by his mother, the child said he was with CPS, “Because the cop shot my auntie.”
Merrit sid about Zion, “He’s just a really sweet, wide-eyed, innocent kid. You hate to see him at all involved with this kind of incident.”
In a subsequent press release announcing the shooting, Fort Worth police claimed the officer was “Perceiving a threat” at the time. The press release also said that officers saw “a firearm” when they entered Jefferson’s home and found her. The Fort Worth Police Department then reportedly released an image of that firearm, even though there was no claim of that gun being used or even wielded during the one-sided encounter. Texas is a state with laws that permit citizens to openly carry guns.
According to local news outlet WFAA, police held a press conference Sunday and offered no explanation for why they “released images of a gun in Jefferson’s bedroom, what those images were intended to convey, or what may have prompted the officer to fire his weapon.”
Attorney for the Jefferson family Lee Merritt started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the 28-year-old’s funeral and related costs. According to her Facebook and LinkedIn pages, she worked at and attended the historically Black college Xavier University of Louisiana.
Also, Dean is reportedly not cooperating even though he has been charged with murder. CNN reports, “Dean has declined to speak with investigators since Saturday, the warrant states. He first refused to be interviewed by the detectives in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and his attorneys told police that he was going to provide a written statement at a later date, according to the document.”
CNN explained officers usually “give an oral or written statement about what happened for an internal investigation, either immediately after the shooting or within 72 hours.”
Dean was charged with murder and released in less than four hours on $200,000 bond, see the mugshot below.
Our condolences goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy.