“Put your hands up, show me your hands,” the officer said before firing a shot — all in less than four seconds.
A black woman was shot and killed by police inside her own home early Saturday morning in Fort Worth, Texas, after her neighbor called a non-emergency police number for a wellness check on her.
Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, 28, was killed in a bedroom at the home at around 2:30 a.m., according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.
In a statement, the Fort Worth Police Department said that officers from its central division responded to a call at 2:25 a.m. and searched the perimeter of the house on the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue.
One officer, after seeing someone through the window of the home, drew his weapon and fired one shot, killing the woman.
“The individual, a black female, who resides at the residence succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene,” read the Fort Worth PD’s statement. “The officer, a white male who has been with the department since April of 2018, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome [of] the critical police incident investigation.”
An officer handling public relations for the department did not immediately return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
In its statement, Fort Worth police said that after the shooting, officers entered the residence to find the resident and a firearm, and began administering emergency care. Texas is an open carry state.
Fort Worth PD released body camera footage from the incident taken from the angle of the officer who fired the shot. In it, the officer can be seen taking notice of an open door at the residence — which had its lights on — and then walking around the home’s perimeter with a colleague. He then opens a gate, and walks to a darker part of the yard while holding a flashlight.
Within seconds of walking though the gate, the officer peers through a window, where he presumably sees a person. He quickly raises his flashlight in one hand, gun in another. “Put your hands up, show me your hands,” he shouts before firing a shot — all in less than four seconds.
The body cam footage released by police also includes photos of a gun found inside the house. It's unclear if Jefferson was near the weapon when she was shot by the officer.
He said: “If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with? Do you just ignore crime or ignore something that’s not right?" pic.twitter.com/w7nvgtOIwy— Jack Howland (@JHowl04) October 12, 2019
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Reporter Jack Howland spoke with James Smith, a neighbor from across the street who placed a call to police around 2 a.m. after seeing that two doors on the home were ajar and the lights on.
Smith told Howland that he called a non-emergency Fort Worth police number, asking for a wellness check on his neighbor, who lived with an aunt that had been in the hospital and her 8-year-old nephew.
Smith told the Star-Telegram that he was “shaken” by the incident, and said he took part of the blame.
“If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive,” Smith said.
“It makes you not want to call the police department,” he added. “If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with?”
According to her Facebook page, Jefferson was born in Dallas and attended Xavier University of Louisiana, studying biology. A 2015 YouTube video shows her performing a class anatomy exercise on a model skeleton and a friend. A 2012 video showed her practicing Spanish with another friend. Her Facebook cover photo was of pieces of pretzels she had broken up and arranged to spell the word "Love."
The Forth Worth shooting comes weeks after Amber Guyger, a former cop in neighboring Dallas, was found guilty of murder for fatally shooting her unarmed neighbor in his apartment. Her neighbor, Botham Jean, was a 26-year-old black man from Saint Lucia.