NBA and NFL Players Offer to Pay for Atatiana Jefferson's Funeral

Atatiana Jefferson and her nephew
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NBA and NFL stars are stepping up after Atatiana Jefferson's death.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson and Sacramento Kings small forward Harrison Barnes have volunteered to pay for Jefferson’s funeral.

Jefferson, 28, was shot dead in her own home last week by Aaron Dean, a white officer with the Fort Worth Police Department.

She had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, when a concerned neighbor called a non-emergency number for a wellness check after noticing her front door was open late at night.

When officers from the Fort Worth Police Department responded, they performed a perimeter check. 

Hearing noises, Jefferson grabbed her gun and held it while looking out a bedroom window. Edited bodycam video released by the police department shows Dean yelling at Jefferson to put her hands up, but he never identifies himself as an officer. 

Seconds later, he fired a single shot, killing Jefferson.

On Monday, Dean resigned from the police department. He has been charged with murder. On Friday, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office said it will seek an indictment.

Barnes said Jefferson’s killing touched him, especially because of his connection to Texas, having spent three seasons playing for the Dallas Mavericks.

“It was a tragic situation that happened. No one should be killed during a wellness check,” he said, People magazine reported. 

"Anytime you come into a community, you always have a piece of that community with you and you want to give back," he told reporters.

Barnes said he hopes his contribution can lift some of her family’s stress. He will foot the bill for most of the costs, Jackson will pay for the remainder. 

Jefferson’s funeral was supposed to take place on Saturday afternoon at The Potter’s House in Dallas. Her father, Marquis Jefferson, won a temporary restraining order against her aunt, Bonita Body, allowing him to halt the arrangements. 

According to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he was at odds with Body, who reportedly consulted other family members when making the arrangements, but excluded him.

“As a reflection of our core values, The Potter’s House will continue to stand ready to serve the community when called upon,” The Potter’s House said in part in a statement.

A GoFundMe for Jefferson's family to help with funeral costs has raised nearly $250,000.


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