Early Saturday morning (Oct. 12), Atatiana Koquice Jefferson was fatally shot by an officer inside her Fort Worth, Texas home. According to CNN, officers arrived at the 28-year-old's residence after a neighbor, James Smith, dialed a non-emergency police hotline once he noticed Jefferson's home door was open.
As the arrived officers scoped the premise, they approached the residence once they noticed a person standing near a window. That's when an unidentified officer fatally shot Jefferson, who was in the same room as her nephew, 8, playing video games. In a statement, Smith said he feels partly responsible for this occurrence. "I'm shaken. I'm mad. I'm upset. And I feel it's partly my fault," he said, per Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If I had never dialed the police department, she'd still be alive."
This gentleman is heavy on my mind + heart this morning. He called the police concerned about his neighbor. The police murdered her. If you believe in a Power Higher than yourself, join me in prayer + peaceful meditation for James Smith. #AtatianaJefferson pic.twitter.com/0iDjm0uhwT
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 13, 2019
Per CNN, police spokesman Lt. Brandon O'Neil said the officer responsible for Jefferson's death will be interviewed by the major cases unit. The city's police department will also release body camera footage "to provide transparent and relevant information to the public as we are allowed within the confines of the Public Information Act and forthcoming investigation." According to footage, the officer shot Jefferson through a window immediately after he ordered her to put her hands up.
Jefferson was on track to obtain a pre-med degree from Xavier University. “You have to know that was somebody’s daughter,” the student's father, Marquis Jefferson, said to CBS-DFW. “Somebody loved her and there was a better way. It didn’t have to be like that.” The incident occurred weeks after former Dallas officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting Botham Jean inside his apartment. Jefferson's father mentioned the latter and the subject of forgiveness.
“Unlike Botham Jean, I don’t want no hug. That’s my one and only daughter,” he said. “I’ll never forget that.”