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Community Stands Together to Raise Over $200K for Family of Fort Worth Police Shooting Victim Atatiana Jefferson

The Fort Worth, Texas, community is in mourning after the death of  Atatiana Jefferson, the Black woman gunned down by officers early Saturday while playing video games with her nephew.

Since then, donations have poured in to help the family honor their loved one’s life and memory.

Atatiana Jefferson

Relatives said Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was watching her nephew when a Fort Worth police officer opened fire through a rear window of the residence where she was babysitting early Saturday morning, killing her. (Photo: GoFundMe page)

As of Tuesday, a GoFundMe campaign launched on the family’s behalf had raised $220,609 in donations. Attorney Lee Merritt, who’s representing the victim’s family, painted Jefferson, 28, as an intelligent young woman with a kind soul and a heart of gold.

“She was a Pre-med graduate of Xavier University,” Merritt wrote on the donation page. “She was very close to her family. She was the auntie that stayed up Friday night playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew. She worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales. Her mom had recently gotten very sick, so she was home taking care of the house and loving her life. There was no reason for her to be murdered. None.”

Donations will benefit Jefferson’s family directly to cover funeral costs and other expenses, the attorney said.

Jefferson died just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday when she was shot by a Fort Worth officer there to conduct a welfare check at her home. A concerned neighbor had called the department’s non-emergency line after noticing something strange.

“Well, the front doors have been open since 10 o’clock ( p.m.) and I haven’t seen anybody moving around,” James Smith tells the dispatcher in audio of the call released by police. “It’s not normal for them to have both the doors open this time of night.”

According to Fort Worth police, officers were dispatched to the home where relatives said Jefferson was watching her 8-year-old nephew. Police initially said Jefferson lived at the residence, however, she actually lived in Dallas.

Two officers arrived on the scene about 15 minutes later but parked nearby, not in front of the home. They proceeded to move around on foot, and then searched the backyard.

Body camera video released by Fort Worth PD shows the officer alleged to have fired the fatal shot searching the home’s perimeter before making his way to the back. Moments later, he shines a flashlight on one of the home’s windows and yells “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”

A single gunshot rings out. The video cuts to black.

Jefferson, 28, was killed when the “officer observed a person through a rear window in the house and fired a shot at that person,” according to police. Now her family is demanding justice.

“I don’t want no hug,” Marquis Jefferson, who was like a father to Jefferson, told CBS This Morning. “That’s my one and only daughter. I’ll never forget that.”

The tragic case has drawn comparisons to that of Botham Jean, the Black  man gunned down by former Dallas officer Amber Guyger, who claimed she thought her neighbor was an intruder after mistaking his apartment for her own. Guyger, 31, was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for Jean’s murder.

The officer accused in Jefferson’s killing was placed on administrative leave before his sudden resignation Monday. According to HuffPost, Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus stated during a news conference that he intended to dismiss the officer, identified as Aaron Dean, but he resigned first.

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