The Fort Worth Police Department recently released the body cam footage of an officer fatally shooting a woman at home without identifying himself. Although police officials issued a statement saying that a firearm was found inside the house after the shooting, the video clearly shows the woman was not in possession of the gun when she had been shot.
Around 2:25 a.m., the Fort Worth Police Department responded to a call concerning a wellness check after a man noticed the front door of his neighbor’s house standing slightly ajar across the street. According to police body cam video, officers approached the open front door and saw lights on inside the residence.
Instead of knocking on the screen door or announcing their presence, the officers walked past two cars parked in the driveway and entered the backyard. With his flashlight aimed at a window, one of the officers suddenly drew his gun and screamed, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”
Within three seconds, the officer fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson, 28, through the closed window. Although the video revealed that a handgun was in the bedroom, Jefferson had not been holding the gun when the officer killed her without identifying himself as a police officer.
On Saturday, the Fort Worth Police Department issued the following statement: “The individual, a black female, who resides at the residence succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene. The officer, a white male who has been with the department since April of 2018, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome [of] the critical police incident investigation.”
During an interview with Forth Worth Star-Telegram reporter Jack Howland, the neighbor who called 911 explained why he called the police and how he never expected them to kill his neighbor. James Smith explained that he received a phone call from his niece at 2 a.m. after she noticed that Jefferson’s front door was open.
Smith approached the residence across the street and saw several lights on but could not see anyone inside the house. Instead of entering the house, Smith returned to his home and called the police to conduct a welfare check on his neighbor.
“It makes you not want to call the police department,” Smith told the Star-Telegram. “If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with? Do you just ignore crime or ignore something that’s not right. They tell you, ‘If you see something, say something.’ They say, ‘If you see something abnormal, say something.’ Well, if you do that and you cause somebody to lose their life, it makes you not want to do that. And that’s sad.”
Currently, no criminal charges or disciplinary actions have been filed against the unidentified officer who fatally shot Jefferson.