A white male officer with the Fort Worth Police Department in Texas is on administrative leave after shooting and killing a 28-year-old black woman in her own home early Saturday morning.
NBC News reports that the shooting of Atatiana Koquice Jefferson was captured in its entirety on the unidentified officer’s body camera, and authorities have released part of that footage, which shows the officer peering inside one of the woman’s windows using a flashlight, apparently seeing a person standing in the room and yelling for them to “Put your hands up. Show me your hands,” then immediately firing his weapon. Jefferson was shot through the window from outside the home. The video then goes black.
Jefferson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fort Worth police say only one shot was fired, and the shooting is now under investigation by the police department’s major case and internal affairs units as well as the Tarrant County District Attorney’s law enforcement incident team.
Police found a gun in the bedroom of the home, but body camera footage does not show anyone holding or pointing a gun at the time of the shooting aside from the officer who fired the deadly shot.
The officer, who has been with the Fort Worth police since April 2018, was responding to a call about a residence with an open door.
Jefferson’s neighbor, James Smith, told NBC News that he called the police nonemergency number to report the open door.
“If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with?” Smith said.
“There was no reason for her to be dead, because there was nothing violent going on. There was no distress at this particular property. They had no reason to come here with guns drawn,” he told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Relatives told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that Jefferson was watching her nephew in her home at the time.
Her aunt, Venitta Body, said Jefferson was a college graduate with a good job who “would never have been a threat to anyone.”
“This is why this is so hard to conceive,” Body told the local news station.
Fort Worth Police Officer Association President Manny Ramirez responded to a request for comment from NBC Dallas-Fort Worth with a text message that said, “We are all deeply saddened by the heartbreaking situation. We are mourning the loss of one of our citizens along with the rest of our community,”
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price also released a statement on the shooting:
Writing a statement like this is tragic and something that should never be necessary. A young woman has lost her life, leaving her family in unbelievable grief. All of Fort Worth must surround Atatiana Jefferson’s family with prayers, love and support.
Chief Kraus and his command staff are acting with immediacy and transparency to conduct a complete and thorough investigation. More details are forthcoming and the Tarrant County District Attorney Law Enforcement Incident Team office will ultimately receive this case.
- Mayor Betsy Price, City of Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Police released a lengthy statement explaining the shooting via Twitter.
“Serving the public transparently and openly during good events and difficult events is a prerequisite to any professional police department,” the statement begins.
It goes on to explain that the officer was responding to the open door call, and says he perceived “a threat,” which caused him to draw his weapon and fire. It says a gun was found in the home, but again does not indicate whether or not Jefferson was anywhere near it at the time of the shooting.
The statement says the investigation will be conducted and as it continues, “information will be forthcoming in as timely a manner as possible.”
The shooting comes just weeks after former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison for the shooting death of Botham Jean, a black man, in his home as he sat watching television and eating ice cream.