FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Moments before she was fatally shot inside her home early Saturday morning, 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson was playing video games with her nephew.
Just before 2:30 a.m. Oct. 12, police responded to a welfare call in the 1200 block of E. Allen Avenue, where neighbor James Smith grew concerned when he noticed Jefferson’s front door was ajar.READ MORE: Public Utility Commission Grills ERCOT Over Its Call For Texans To Conserve Energy This Week
When officers arrived, they searched the perimeter of the house and saw a person standing inside the residence, near a window.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the Fort Worth Police Department said an officer — whose name has not been released — perceived a threat then drew his weapon. He fired one shot, striking and killing Jefferson. She died at the scene.
Smith recalled that he saw no lights, heard no sirens and witnessed no officers identifying themselves before the shooting.
“Three or four tactical officers come from around the corner, somehow walk across the street in front of her house, past the front door which was open… Go down the side of her house to the rear of her house, and in less than a minute I heard gunshots,” he said.
FWPD later came out with the one minute and 20 second clip of the officer’s body camera video. It showed officers moving alongside the home and into the backyard with flash lights shining right before one shouted at Jefferson to put her hands up. She was shot seconds later through a screened window.READ MORE: Feds Warn Against Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards
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The department later released images of a firearm inside the home, but that didn’t bode well with the family’s attorney Lee Merritt.
“It was nothing nefarious or illegal about owning a fire arm, and they presented in no way that the fire lead to their use of deadly force,” Merritt said. “The hardest part about it is I spoke with an 8-year-old who explained what it was like inside of the house.”
Now, community leaders and neighbors are rallying around the family, who has declined to speak to the media.
But with the demand for answers, justice and a call for an independent investigation — many in the community say an indictment is the right call.
“That’s murder,” Merritt said.MORE NEWS: Tarrant County Issues Warning About Expedited Passport Scams
The officer is currently on administrative leave pending an investigation.