Atatiana Jefferson‘s young nephew told detectives of the moment he saw his “auntie” shot and killed in the bedroom of their Texas home.
The man who shot her, former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean, has yet to share his side of the story, however.
Dean, 34, faces a murder charge after fatally shooting the young woman through a window last in the early morning hours of last Saturday. Jefferson, 28, was at a relative’s home playing video games with her nephew when the shooting occurred.
The ex-cop resigned on Monday before he could be fired, but was later arrested and charged in Jefferson’s killing. After just a few hours in jail, Dean was released after posting $200,000 bond.
Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said that since the shooting, Dean has been uncooperative and refuses to speak with investigators. An arrest affidavit states that the former officer declined an interview with detectives in the immediate aftermath of the deadly shooting.
Lawyers for Dean have also declined to comment on the case, but promised to provide a written statement at a later date. That still hasn’t happened.
“He resigned before his opportunity to be cooperative,” Kraus of the former officer said at a press conference earlier this week.
According to FOX 6, it’s the norm for officers to provide an oral or written statement within 72 hours of a police shooting, explaining what happened. At the time of his resignation, Dean also refused to give a written statement, the affidavit stated.
“I cannot tell you what he felt,” the police chief added. “He did not give a statement.”
Police arrived to Jefferson’s home in the early hours of Oct. 12 after getting an “open structure call.” 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.”
A concerned neighbor had called the department’s non-emergency line after noticing Jefferson’s front door was open and the lights were on, which he said was unusual for that time of night.
Dean and another officer arrived about 15 minutes later but never announced themselves as law enforcement.
When Jefferson heard strange noises outside the window, her nephew, Zion, told authorities that his aunt grabbed a firearm from her purse and raised it. She had it pointed at the window when Dean shot her from the other side.
“Jefferson raised her handgun, pointed it toward the window, then Jefferson was shot and fell to the ground,” the affidavit recalls Zion telling police, noting how his aunt cried out in pain.
Since then, the family said young Zion is much more reserved and cautious these days.
“His mom tells me that she can see little changes in his character,” Lee Merritt, the family’s attorney, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Now when entering a room, he’ll kind of wait and watch the adults go in first. He’ll wait to see if the coast is clear and then he’ll enter.”
Merritt said Zion is still upbeat like most kids, however, the trauma is still there. To help him cope with sudden, violent loss of his aunt, the attorney said he’s made plans for Zion to speak with a pastor and that the family is working “to get him signed up for professional counseling as well.”
Local faith leaders are also working to get the Jefferson family justice. On Wednesday, Black clergy and leaders in the Fort Worth community called on the federal government to intervene and force the city’s police to change its practices.
Together, community leaders announced a joint effort to secure a federal consent decree that would mandate reforms at the Forth Worth Police Department.
“This is a fundamental attack on the Constitution of United States,” said Rev. Kyev Tatum of New Mount Rose Baptist Church, according to The Dallas Morning News. “It is an affront to the Second Amendment. The Constitution is on trial right now in Fort Worth.”
Tatum said the group plans to pen a letter signed by organizers and faith leaders to the U.S. attorney general seeking the decree.