Despite the recent attempt of character assassination by the Dallas Morning News, the Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus has defended Atatiana Jefferson against accusations of being armed and pointing the gun at the officers moment before her death. Kraus said that it was logical that the young woman would arm herself at 2:30am after hearing someone in her backyard.
“It makes sense that she would have a gun if she felt that she was being threatened or there was someone in the backyard,” Kraus said. The family’s lawyer reiterated the remarks saying that she had was a legal gun owner and the officers did not identify themselves as police officers.
Miss Jefferson tragically died after sustaining gunshot wounds from former Fort Worth Police Officer, Aaron Dean, who responded to a non-emergency call from her neighbor over her opened front door. Body cam footage showed Dean never announcing himself as law enforcement, and went around to the back of the home to investigate. Upon seeing Miss Jefferson, he drew his weapon, ordered her hands up, and fired within 3 seconds of seeing her through her window. He has since resigned from the FWPD, and has been charged with the murder of Miss Jefferson.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price also said that having a gun in her house did not have any effect on the circumstances under which she died. In a very moving and heartfelt open letter to the community, Mayor Price said “Atatiana was in her own home... And she was taken from her family in circumstances that are truly unthinkable,” Price said. You can read her full open letter below.
The family lawyer accused the police department of trying to defend the officers by indicating that Jefferson pointed the gun at them. The claim of gun possession did not surface until her 8-year-old nephew, who was at present at the time Miss Jefferson was shot, indicated that she had a gun.
The second officer also said that she only saw her face on the window when her colleague shot her, thus casting doubts about whether the other officer knew about the presence of the gun.
James Smith, Jefferson's neighbor, made a non-emergency call for a welfare check on the Jefferson residence after noticing her front door was opened. The police officers had responded on an open structure call for a possible break-in, instead of a wellness check.
The responding officers had never identified themselves as police officers. The shooting has caused a lot of controversy, particularly since it comes just weeks following the murder conviction of former Dallas Police Officer, Amber Guyger, who shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his own apartment. Guyger claimed she had entered Mr. Jean's apartment thinking it was her own, and shot him believing he was an intruder.