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(DALLAS MORNING NEWS) — A murder warrant for Aaron Dean, the Fort Worth officer who killed Atatiana Jefferson, tells what led up to the shooting from the perspective of her 8-year-old nephew, who was in the room with her when she was shot.
The boy told a forensic interviewer that he and his aunt were playing video games together about 2:30 a.m. Saturday when the 28-year-old woman heard noises outside. She took her handgun from her purse and pointed it at the window before she was shot, the nephew said, according to the affidavit.
The 8-year-old saw his aunt fall to the ground. She was pronounced dead at 3:05 a.m.
Interim Police Chief Ed Krause said at a news conference Tuesday that it made sense that Jefferson would arm herself if she thought someone was in her backyard.
Lee Merritt, a civil rights lawyer representing the family, said Monday that Jefferson’s gun was legally owned and Jefferson had a license to carry it. Police released an image of the gun shortly after the shooting, a move the police chief said was not the right call.
Dean, 34, was arrested at his attorney’s office about 6 p.m. Monday on a murder charge. He was freed from the Tarrant County Jail after posting $200,000 bond shortly after 9 p.m., court records show.
Kraus said it’s still unclear what Dean was thinking when he shot through a bedroom window, striking Jefferson.
The former officer has not provided a written statement nor answered any questions before he resigned Monday, the chief said. Kraus had been prepared to fire the officer Monday morning, but Dean resigned first.
Dean and another officer had been called about 2:30 a.m. Saturday to Jefferson’s mother’s home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue. A neighbor had called a non-emergency line to report that the home’s lights were on and its doors open.
An arrest-warrant affidavit for Dean released by police Tuesday said the glass storm doors to the house were closed, but the front and side interior doors were open. Officers peered into the residence through the storm doors but did not see anyone, and they did not announce their presence, according to the affidavit.
In body-camera footage of the shooting, Dean walks around in the backyard of the home. About a minute and a half into the recording released by Fort worth police, Dean swivels toward a window, shouts at Jefferson to put up her hands and shoots her, all in a matter of seconds.
The chief said the shooting has been trying for the department.
Kraus got choked up as he likened the aftermath of the shooting to ants working to build an anthill, when “somebody comes with a hose and washes it away and they just have to start from scratch.”
“We have a great many officers who work extremely hard every day,” Kraus said. “I ask you please do not let the actions of one officer reflect on the other 1,700. There’s absolutely no excuse for this incident.”
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