Atatiana Jefferson's Dad Condemns Police Shooting of Daughter in Her Home: 'It's Senseless'
Atatiana Jefferson's death has sparked outrage in a community still reeling from the death of Botham Jean.
“I mean it’s senseless. My daughter was 28. My daughter was 28-years-old. Had her whole life in front of her," Marquis told CBS DFW. “You have to know that was somebody’s daughter,” he said. “Somebody loved her and there was a better way. It didn’t have to be like that.”
Fort Worth Police Department officers showed up at Atatiana's home about 2:30 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor said he called a non-emergency police number because he noticed her doors were open and asked them to do a wellness check. According to CNN, James Smith said he knew Atatiana was in the house with her 8-year-old nephew.
"I called my police department for a welfare check," Smith said. "No domestic violence, no arguing, nothing that they should have been concerned about as far as them coming with guns drawn to my neighbor’s house,” Smith told WFAA.
When Fort Worth Police Department cops showed up, they searched the perimeter of Atatiana's home. Officers said they saw someone standing inside the home near a window.
Police released edited body cam footage of the incident a short time later. An officer can be heard yelling, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” through the window just before firing his weapon once. In the video, he does not identify himself as an officer.
Atatiana was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” the department said in a statement. “Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency medical care,” it says in part.
Authorities did not identify the officer who fatally shot Atatiana but said he is white and joined the department in April 2018. He was initially placed on administrative leave, but the department's chief announced Monday that he had resigned and may face criminal charges.
Lee Merritt, the Jefferson family's attorney, told Inside Edition that they want justice.
"This officer needs to be treated like any other suspect. He should be arrested. ... He should be in handcuffs and led into a cell," Merritt said.
Though Smith said he feels somewhat responsible for Atatiana's death, Marquis said it is not his fault.
“I have nothing against the neighbor,” Marquis told CBS DFW. “If you see something going on at my house with my daughter… you need to call police. But it’s the way that the police acted.”
The shooting comes just about two weeks after a former Dallas police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the shooting death of Botham Jean, the black man who was killed inside his own home that the white officer, who was off duty, mistook for hers and entered. The former officer, Amber Guyger, said she acted in self defense. She also apologized for taking Jean's life and even hugged his brother during her trial.
Atatiana's death has sparked outrage in a community still reeling from Jean's death.
“Unlike Botham Jean, I don’t want no hug. That’s my one and only daughter,” Marquis said. “I’ll never forget that.”
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