Former Police Officer Who Shot Texas Woman in Her Own Home Is Charged with Murder
Aaron Dean was arrested by Fort Worth Police on Oct. 14 after he allegedly murdered Atatiana Jefferson
The white police officer who fatally shot a black Texas woman in her own home over the weekend has been arrested and charged with murder, authorities announced on Monday.
Hours after resigning from his position as a Fort Worth police officer on Monday, Aaron York Dean was taken into custody by his former department and charged with the murder of Atatiana Jefferson, according to a statement from the Fort Worth Police Department.
Dean is currently being held in the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth on a $200,000 bond, inmate records state.
It was not immediately clear if the former cop has attained an attorney yet.
Following the news, S. Lee Merritt, the Jefferson Family’s attorney, issued a statement on behalf of his clients and said that while they were “relieved” with the arrest and charges, there was still work to be done in their community.
“The family of Atatiana Jefferson is relieved that Aaron Dean has been arrested & charged with murder,” Merritt wrote on Twitter. “We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing. The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing.”
In a statement on Facebook, Merritt added, “Aaron Dean has been arrested. It’s a good start. He’s a bad apple. But don’t forget the bunch … it’s bad too (7 fatal police shootings in under 6 months) And who are picking these apples. There’s blood on their hands too. Accountability in Fort Worth is the long game.”
When contacted by PEOPLE, a spokesperson for the Fort Worth Police Department had no comment in regards to Merritt’s claims.
Jefferson, 28, was killed early Saturday morning when Fort Worth police responded to a welfare call in the 1200 block of E. Allen Avenue at around 2:30 a.m. A neighbor called authorities to report Jefferson’s front door was open, according to CNN.
Jefferson had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when the call was made. The neighbor who called police used the department’s non-emergency line and asked for a wellness check out of concern for her safety.
“What I witnessed was three or four tactical officers come from around the corner … And in less than a minute, I heard gunshots,” the neighbor, James Smith, said, according to CBS News.
Body-camera footage, released by the police and shared by multiple outlets, showed two officers walking around the side of the house as one officer approached a closed first-floor window with a flashlight. After raising his gun, the officer screamed, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”
The officer, later identified as Dean, apparently never identified himself as police before firing.
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On Monday afternoon, Dean resigned hours before being fired, NBC News reports. He was originally placed on administrative leave and had been with FWPD since April 2018.
“Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations for several policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy and unprofessional conduct,” Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said at a news conference Monday.
That same day, Jefferson’s family spoke out during a separate press conference and demanded justice for their loved one.
“This man murdered someone. He should be arrested,” Jefferson’s brother, Darius Carr, said during the news conference.
“There is simply no justification for his actions,” added Ashley Carr, according to USA Today. “We demand justice for Atatiana thorough an independent and thorough investigation.”
In the wake of the tragedy, Attorney Merritt created a GoFundMe page to cover “funeral cost and other expenses associated with this tragedy.”
“I mean it’s senseless,” Marquis Jefferson, who was a father figure to Jefferson, told CBS News. “My daughter … had her whole life in front of her.”