Fort Worth Officer Fatally Shot Woman Inside Her Home, Police Say


A Texas police officer responding to a call was outside a woman’s home when he shot and killed her as she was inside early on Saturday, officials said.

Officers responded to a residence in Fort Worth, Tex., regarding an “open structure” call around 2:30 a.m. and found the front door open, the police said in a statement.

When the officers searched the perimeter of the house, one officer outside noticed a person standing inside, near a window. “Perceiving a threat,” he drew his weapon and fired once into the house at the person, the police said.

Officers entered the house, located the injured resident and a firearm, and began providing emergency medical care, the police said. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman, Atatiana Jefferson, 28, who was black, died in her bedroom at 2:30 a.m., according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Fort Worth Police Department did not release the officer’s name, but disclosed that he was white and had been with the department since April 2018.

James Smith, Ms. Jefferson’s neighbor, told WFAA-TV in Dallas that he had called the police for a welfare check.

He told the police that two vehicles were in her driveway but that the door to the house was wide open, which was abnormal, according to call details released by the police.

There was “no domestic violence, no arguing, nothing that they should have been concerned with as far as them coming with guns drawn to my neighbor’s house,” Mr. Smith said.

Body camera footage released by the police showed the officer, shining a flashlight, peering into a window and shouting, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before firing his weapon.

Mr. Smith said he was shocked when he heard the gunshot.

“I don’t know what went on in the house, but I know that she wasn’t a threat,” he said.

The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, the police said.

In a statement, Mayor Betsy Price called on Fort Worth to support Ms. Jefferson’s family in its mourning.

“Writing a statement like this is tragic and something that should never be necessary,” she said. “A young woman has lost her life, leaving her family in unbelievable grief. All of Fort Worth must surround Atatiana Jefferson’s family with prayers, love and support.”

The Police Department said it would collect evidence, witness statements and body camera footage to present to prosecutors.

Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer, shot and killed her neighbor in his apartment last year after she mistook the unit for her own. Ms. Guyger was convicted of murder and sentenced this month to 10 years in prison.





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