The Fort Worth officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson, 28, at her home this weekend was arrested on murder charges Monday, just hours after his resignation.
The officer, identified as Aaron Dean, was booked into the Tarrant County Jail later that evening, where his bond was set at $200,000, according to The Dallas Morning News. Dean, 34, had been with the Fort Worth Police Department since April 2018 before stepping down Monday.
Jail records show the accused officer has since posted bond and was released.
At a press conference, Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said he intended to fire Dean, but he quit first. Kraus added that the officer hasn’t been cooperative with the investigation.
“He resigned before his opportunity to be cooperative,” he said.
Dean’s record will reflect a dishonorable discharge, the newspaper reported.
Fort Worth authorities said they’re still “working diligently to complete the criminal and administrative investigations” and have been in contact with the Tarrant County District attorney’s office about the case.
Jefferson, 28, died early Saturday when Dean opened fire on her through a bedroom window of a relative’s Fort Worth home. The pre-med student was inside playing video games with her nephew when she was shot and killed.
A concerned neighbor had made a non-emergency call to police and asked them to do a welfare check after noticing “the front doors have been open since 10 o’clock ( p.m.) and I haven’t seen anybody moving around,” a sight he described as unusual for that time of night.
Police responded to the scene but never announced themselves as law enforcement, possibly because they were unaware they were there for a wellness check.
Per The Dallas Morning News: “Responding officers received information from dispatch about an ‘open structure’ call, which Kraus said requires a more heightened response than a welfare check.”
Typically, the police chief said officers will park up the street and approach with caution when responding to open structure calls, and said it would be normal for police to announce themselves on a welfare check, “…but not if they thought the incident might involve a criminal situation,” according to the paper.
When Jefferson peeked to see who was outside, police said, “the officer (Dean) observed a person through a rear window in the house and fired a shot at that person.”
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who’s representing Jefferson’s family, the woman’s relative’s were “relieved” by news of the officer’s arrest.
“The family of Atatiana Jefferson is relieved Aaron Dean has been arrested and charged with murder,” Merritt wrote in a Twitter post. “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.”
Jefferson’s family is now calling for an independent investigation into the shooting.
Watch more in the clip below.
“It’s beyond me to begin to understand what kind of police force responds to a wellness call with the equivalent of S.W.A.T.,” said Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family of Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old woman who was shot and killed by police in Fort Worth, Texas pic.twitter.com/mZaS7YbxbL— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) October 14, 2019
Jefferson’s sister read a statement from the family.