Under investigation for fatally shooting an innocent woman at her residence, a Fort Worth police officer resigned Monday and was charged with murder. According to police officials, the cop refused to answer questions about the shooting before turning in his gun and badge.
Around 2:25 a.m. on Saturday, the Fort Worth Police Department received a nonemergency call from a man requesting a welfare check on his neighbor after noticing the front door open for several minutes. According to Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus, the dispatch operator failed to report the welfare check to responding officers and instead only reported an “open structure” call.
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, Officer Aaron Dean suddenly drew his gun and screamed, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”
Within three seconds, Dean fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson, 28, through the closed window without identifying himself as a police officer. According to the family’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, Jefferson had been playing a video game late into the night with her 8-year-old nephew in the moments before she was killed.
During a press conference on Monday, Chief Krause stated that Dean resigned on Monday morning before internal affairs investigators could question the officer about the fatal shooting. Referring to Dean’s abrupt resignation, Krause said, “He resigned before his opportunity to be cooperative.”
In a press release issued on Monday, police officials wrote, “The Fort Worth Police Department again, would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Jefferson. We continue to acknowledge that this a tough and tragic event not only for her family, but for our hurting community as well. We value the trust we’ve had with our community and we will continue to be transparent not just with this tragic incident, but in all police matters.
“Concerning the status of the criminal investigation:
“At approximately 6 p.m. Aaron Dean was arrested for the murder of Ms. Jefferson and he has since been booked into the Tarrant County Jail. Our department is working closely with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. Our Major Case and Internal Affairs Units are continuing to work around the clock to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice for Ms. Jefferson’s family and community is served.”
According to Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s oldest sister, Jefferson had recently moved home to care for her mother, who was in declining health and remained hospitalized Monday. Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew was reportedly in the room when he witnessed his aunt falling to the floor as she died from the gunshot wound.