Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean has been charged with murder after the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, a woman who was fatally shot through her bedroom window after police responded to her home for a report of an open door.
Footage from the officer’s body camera showed them responding to the home at close to 2 a.m. on Saturday after a neighbor had called a non-emergency line asking them to check on an open front door. Dean and another officer were seen on the video past the front door and to the home’s backyard. When they reached a back window, Dean allegedly shouted to a person inside to put up their hands, then fired a shot less than a second later. Jefferson, who was inside with her 8-year-old nephew, was fatally shot.
Dean resigned his position early on Monday, close to a day after the fatal shooting and before he was set to be fired by the department, and was arrested on murder charges later in the day. As NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported, Dean had already been stripped of his badge and gun on Sunday and was given an administrative warning.
The shooting has led to widespread protests, with many calling on the department to charge Dean with murder. Jefferson’s shooting comes one year after the murder of Botham Jean in neighboring Dallas in a similarly controversial incident. Jean was inside his home when Dallas police officer Amber Guyger allegedly shot Jean when she opened the door, later claiming she mistook his apartment for her own. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
While it appeared that police in Fort Worth were attempting to justify the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson by releasing a still shot of a firearm at the end of the bodycam video released on Sunday, interim Chief Ed Kraus condemned the shooting.
“Nobody looked at that video and said there was any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately. I get it,” Kraus said. “We’re trying to train our officers better, we’re trying to shore up our policies and we’re trying to ensure they act and react the way that the citizens intend them to, that they act and react with a servants heart instead of a warriors heart. There are times for officers to act as warriors and defenders, and there are times for them to act as public servants and humble servants.”
Aaron Dean has been booked into jail and is being held on a $200,000 bond.