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Fort Worth chief says he’s heard no dissent over officer arrest

Updated October 15, 2019 - 9:38 am

FORT WORTH, Texas — The interim Fort Worth police chief says there’s “absolutely no excuse” for a white officer’s fatal shooting of a black woman inside her home over the weekend.

At a press conference Tuesday, Chief Ed Kraus grew emotional when describing the morale of the police department. He says “officers are hurting” because of the fatal shooting and that he has not encountered an officer who disagrees with the decision to arrest Aaron Dean.

Kraus pleaded with Fort Worth residents to not let the actions of one officer reflect on all employees of the police department.

Kraus says Dean did not make a statement to investigators before resigning Monday.

Dean was arrested Monday night on a murder charge in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson. He is out of custody after posting bond.

Out after posting bond

Dean was arrested at about 6 p.m. Monday on a murder charge for the killing of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson. Jail records show he was out of custody after posting $200,000 bond Monday night, less than four hours after his arrest.

Police say Jefferson was killed by shot fired through a window as police responded to a report of an open door.

Fort Worth police are telling a grieving public that “we feel and understand your anger,” after a white officer was charged with murder for shooting a black woman through a window of her home.

Sgt. Chris Daniels read a statement Monday night after Dean’s arrest in which he pledged that the department’s major case and internal affairs units would ensure “no stone is left unturned” in the search for answers.

Devoted mother

Atatiana Jefferson was devoted to her family and had moved into her mother’s Fort Worth home earlier this year to help as her mom’s health declined, relatives said.

With her mother in the hospital, Jefferson and her 8-year-old nephew were the only two people home early Saturday when a police officer fired a gunshot through a back window, killing Jefferson.

Jefferson, who family members sometimes called “Tay,” and her nephew had devoted their night to Call of Duty and were still up playing the video game when the officer shot. They had the front door of the home open to let the cool breeze in, said Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson’s family.

“They did that all night — from sunset until the time that they lost track of time … when they heard someone prowling around in the bushes,” Merritt said during news conference with her family Monday.

“He and his Auntie Tay experienced the fear of someone prowling in the backyard,” Merritt said. “His Auntie Tay did not allow him to check the window, she checked herself.”

Indescribable relationship

Amber Carr said her sister, Jefferson, loved spending time with her nephews.

“My sister, the relationship she has with my sons is indescribable. Sometimes people think that they are her kids and not mine,” said Carr, who also has a 4-year-old son.

She said the last time she spoke to her sister was a week before she was killed.

“She came to the hospital in Plano where I was recovering from a major heart surgery. She came and brought me food, she brought me a new cellphone,” Carr said at the news conference.

Jefferson loved playing basketball and video games with the 8-year-old, but she also helped him understand he had to be responsible for getting himself ready for school each morning and wrote him a schedule to help him get organized, Carr said.

“She helped him become more independent and self-sufficient,” she said.

Jefferson grew up in the Dallas area. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree of science in biology, and her family said she worked from home selling medical equipment. Merritt said Jefferson was considering going to medical school and had been studying for the Medical College Admission Test.

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