Fort Worth, TX – The Fort Worth police officer who fatally shot a woman in her home while investigating a potential burglary report in October has been indicted for murder.
A Tarrant County grand jury handed down the indictment against now-former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean, 35, on Friday morning, KXAS reported.
The incident began at approximately 2:25 a.m. on Oct. 12, when Fort Worth police received a call from Atatiana Jefferson’s neighbor, James Smith, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported at the time.
Smith told the police dispatcher that he noticed his neighbor’s doors were open and their lights were still on, which was unusual for that time of night.
Moreover, the reporting party said that Jefferson, 28, lived at the East Allen Avenue home with her eight-year-old nephew.
Nevertheless, the call for service was dispatched as a potential burglary – not as a welfare check like her neighbor intended.
As a result, the officers responded to the call differently than they would have if the call would have been dispatched as a welfare check.
According to court documents, Jefferson’s nephew told police that he and his aunt were playing video games inside their home when they suddenly “heard noises coming from outside,” Law Officer reported.
Jefferson then retrieved a handgun from her purse and “pointed it toward the window,” at which point she “was shot and fell to the ground,” according to an arrest warrant.
Bodycam footage showed the officers as they checked on two open doors. They then made their way down a driveway to the back portion of the residence.
Dean opened a gate and came upon a darkened window to his right, the video showed.
“Put your hands up!” he suddenly ordered, with his duty weapon and flashlight pointed at the window. “Show me your hands!”
He then fired a single round, fatally wounding Jefferson, who died at the scene, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” the FWPD said in a news release. “Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency medical care.”
Dean, who was hired by the FWPD in August of 2017, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 13.
He resigned from the force the following day, just hours before he was arrested for murder, Law Officer reported.
“My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department, however, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met,” Chief Kraus said on Oct.14. “Even though he no longer works for the city, we continue the administrative investigation as if he did.”
Had he not resigned, Chief Kraus said he would have fired the officer “for violations of several policies,” to include the FWPD’s use-of-force, de-escalation, and unprofessional conduct policies.
He was taken to the Tarrant County Jail on $200,000 bond and was released after posting bail approximately three hours later.
Dean’s attorney, Jim Lane, called the officer-involved shooting a “tragedy,” KXAS reported.
Lane said that Dean has expressed remorse for what happened, and that his family “is in shock,” according to local news.
The date for Dean’s trial has not yet been announced.