Texas officer faces questions after killing woman at home

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Photo of Atatiana Koquice Jefferson who was killed in her own home by a Fort Worth, TX police officer. (Courtesy: CNN)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the fatal police shooting of a black woman inside her own home in Fort Worth (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

A white police officer in Fort Worth who authorities say fatally shot a black woman in her home resigned in a one-sentence letter Monday.

Aaron Dean’s letter said: “Effective immediately I am tendering my resignation from the Fort Worth Police Department.” The letter was released by the state’s largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

The group’s executive director, Charley Wilkison, says Dean has not yet hired an attorney but that one will be provided with financial support from the union.

Fort Worth police say Dean shot Atatiana Jefferson while responding to a report of an open door at her home.

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2:20 p.m.

Fort Worth’s interim police chief says the department should not have released photos of a handgun found inside the home of a black woman who was killed by a white police officer, noting that many Texas homeowners keep firearms nearby for self-protection.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot to death Saturday by a Fort Worth officer who was responding to a report of an open door. Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said Monday that there’s no indication the officers knocked on the front door, and that Jefferson died from a gunshot fired through a window accessible from the fenced-in back yard.

Kraus said police have previously released images of weapons to illustrate a perceived threat. But, he said, releasing the photos in this instance was “a bad thing to do.”

Fort Worth’s interim police chief says the department should not have released photos of a handgun found inside the home of a black woman who was killed by a white police officer, noting that many Texas homeowners keep firearms nearby for self-protection.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot to death Saturday by a Fort Worth officer who was responding to a report of an open door. Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said Monday that there’s no indication the officers knocked on the front door, and that Jefferson died from a gunshot fired through a window accessible from the fenced-in back yard.

Kraus said police have previously released images of weapons to illustrate a perceived threat. But, he said, releasing the photos in this instance was “a bad thing to do.”

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1:25 p.m.

Fort Worth’s interim police chief says he expects a “substantial update” by Tuesday on whether a former police officer will be criminally charged in the shooting death of a black woman inside her home.

Interim Chief Ed Kraus said Monday that Officer Aaron Dean would have been fired had he not resigned following Saturday’s shooting death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called for “justice and closure” for Jefferson’s family.

WATCH: Fort Worth, Texas Police hold a press conference

Fort Worth Police Hold a press conference regarding the deadly shooting of a 28-year-old black woman inside her home

BREAKING LIVE: Fort Worth Police hold a press conference regarding the deadly shooting of a 28-year-old black woman inside her home.Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed by a white police officer while playing video games with her nephew. Details: http://bit.ly/2OLVGp9

Posted by CBS 42 on Monday, October 14, 2019

Officers had responded to Jefferson’s home on a neighbor’s report of an open door. An attorney for Jefferson’s family says she was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when a shot was fired into her window, killing her.

Kraus said Monday that there’s no sign that officers knocked on the front door and that the shot was fired from within the fenced-off backyard.

WATCH: Family and Attorney of Fort Worth, Texas woman who was shot and killed by police inside her home hold a press conference

Family and Attorney of Fort Worth, Texas woman who was shot and killed by police inside her home hold a press conference

WATCH: Family and Attorney of a 28-year-old black Fort Worth, Texas woman who was shot and killed by a white police officer in her own holds a press conference.Details:http://bit.ly/2OLVGp9

Posted by CBS 42 on Monday, October 14, 2019

1:10 p.m.

The Fort Worth police chief says a white officer accused in the fatal shooting of a black woman in her home has resigned.

Interim Chief Ed Kraus said Monday that if the officer, Aaron Dean, had not resigned, he would have been fired.

Dean shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson through her window in the early hours of Saturday morning. Officers were called to her home when a concerned neighbor worried for her safety noticed her door was open.

Police have said the officer perceived a threat when he saw someone near the window and opened fire.

Earlier Monday, family lawyer Lee Merritt called for the officer to be fired and charged in Jefferson’s killing.

11:30 a.m.

Family members of a black Texas woman who was shot to death inside her home by a white police officer are calling for an independent investigation of her killing as well as the arrest and prosecution of the officer involved.

Relatives of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson said Monday that an agency other than the Fort Worth Police Department should investigate the shooting death of Jefferson, which occurred early Saturday.

Fort Worth police have not yet identified the officer who fatally shot Jefferson but planned a press conference for later Monday.

One of Jefferson’s sisters, Ashley Carr, said her sister was “a smart, ambitious, kind person with a nurturing spirit.” She said her sister had a bachelor’s degree in biology from Xavier University and that her coworkers saw her as a person of integrity.

Carr said Jefferson’s life was marked by honor, integrity, commitment and service, and she called on Fort Worth police to show those same attributes.

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10:40 a.m.

Bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals are piling up outside the Fort Worth home where a 28-year-old black woman was shot to death by a white police officer.

Members of the community have brought tributes to the home where Atatiana Jefferson was killed early Saturday by an officer who was responding to a neighbor’s report of an open door. On Monday morning, a dozen bouquets lay near the door and walkway of the home, which is next door to a mosque.

Andre McEwing says he grew up in the neighborhood but now lives in Crowley. He brought two bouquets of roses to the home Sunday but returned Monday to the site, saying the neighborhood “just has questions.”

In the fenced-in backyard, one bullet hole is visible in a window of the single-story, freshly painted purple home. Fort Worth police say the officer fired one shot into home, killing Jefferson.

Family members of Jefferson and police plan separate press conferences for later Monday.

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7:05 a.m.

A white police officer who fatally shot a 28-year-old black woman inside her Texas home is set to be interviewed by investigators as questions and outrage grow over the shooting.

Fort Worth police say officers responded early Saturday after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report the home’s front door had been left open. The responding officer fired a shot through the home’s window, killing Atatiana Jefferson.

A family attorney, Lee Merritt, says Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she was killed. Jefferson graduated with a biology degree from Xavier University in New Orleans.

A vigil took place Sunday outside Jefferson’s home. The officer is expected to be interviewed Monday.

The Fort Worth Police Officers Association issued a statement Sunday calling for “a thorough and transparent investigation” into the shooting.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A white police officer who fatally shot a 28-year-old black woman inside her Texas home was set to be interviewed by investigators Monday as questions and outrage grow over the shooting.

The Fort Worth Police Department said officers responded about 2:25 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report the home’s front door had been left open. The responding officer fired a shot through the home’s window, killing Atatiana Jefferson.

Police said Jefferson was with her 8-year-old nephew when she was killed. A family attorney, Lee Merritt, said the pair had stayed up late playing video games and “lost track of time” when they heard noise outside Jefferson’s bedroom window.

“You didn’t hear the officer shout, ‘Gun, gun, gun,'” Merritt told Dallas TV station KXAS after viewing video taken from a Fort Worth officer’s bodycam. “He didn’t have time to perceive a threat. That’s murder.”

The shooting occurred in Fort Worth, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Dallas, where another high-profile police shooting occurred last year. In that case, white Dallas police officer Amber Guyger fatally shot her black neighbor Botham Jean inside his own apartment after Guyger said she mistook it as her own.

Fort Worth police said in a statement that officers saw someone near a window inside the home and that one of them drew his duty weapon and fired after “perceiving a threat.” The video released by police shows two officers searching the home from the outside with flashlights before one shouts, “Put your hands up, show me your hands.” One shot is then fired through a window.

In the video, the officer does not identify himself as police.

Fort Worth police said it released the bodycam footage soon after the shooting to provide transparency, but that any “camera footage inside the residence” could not be distributed due to state law. However, the bodycam video released to media included blurred still frames showing a gun inside a bedroom at the home. It’s unclear if the firearm was found near Jefferson, and police have not said that the officer who shot her thought she had a gun. The police statement released Saturday said only that officers who entered the residence after the shooting found a firearm, and Lt. Brandon O’Neil would not answer reporters’ questions Sunday on why police released images of the gun.

O’Neil said the officer, whose name has not been released, would meet with investigators from the Fort Worth Police Department on Monday about the shooting. Police previously said the officer, a white man, joined the department in April 2018.

A large crowd gathered outside Jefferson’s home Sunday night for a vigil after earlier demonstrations briefly stopped traffic on part of Interstate 35.

Jefferson was a 2014 graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, the university said.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with her family and friends as we gather as a community in prayer,” President Reynold Verret said in a letter to the Xavier community. “As we wait for details of this incident to unfold, let us cling to our mission of justice and humanity and seek answers to this tragedy.”

Merritt told the Star-Telegram that Jefferson was working in pharmaceutical equipment sales and was considering going back to medical school.

The Fort Worth Police Officers Association issued a statement Sunday calling for “a thorough and transparent investigation” into the shooting.

“The members of the FWPOA love the citizens that we serve, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Atatiana Jefferson; our hearts are heavy,” the statement said.

The shooting comes less than two weeks after Guyger, the former Dallas police officer, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of Jean. Guyger, 31, said during her trial that mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which was one floor below Jean’s. Merritt also represents Jean’s family.

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