Nephew, 8, Was in the Room When Police Shot Woman

They were playing a video game when they heard noises outside
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2019 5:03 AM CDT
Updated Oct 14, 2019 6:58 AM CDT

Atatiana Jefferson was proud of being a "cool auntie" and had been up late playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she was killed in her Fort Worth home by police early Saturday, lawyer Lee Merritt says. He says Jefferson and the boy—who was in the room when she was shot—had been playing a game on an Xbox around 2:30am when they became concerned after hearing rustling and seeing flashlights outside, the New York Times reports. Police say an officer fired through a window after "perceiving a threat." Bodycam footage shows he fired almost instantly and did not identify himself. Police say a gun was found in the room, though Merritt notes that police haven't said Jefferson wielded the firearm, which she legally owned. "Also, it wouldn't matter, because that's her home," he says. The officer, who is white, is on administrative leave.

Police crept up outside the house after neighbor James Smith called a nonemergency number to request a welfare check because the home's doors were open and he wasn't sure anybody was home. His niece says he is distraught and keeps asking: "Why did they have to go in like that?" She says he never told police he suspected a burglary was in progress. US Rep. Marc Veasey, who attended a vigil outside the home Sunday, says he is "very disturbed" by the shooting. "The biggest thing to me is the training," he tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It seems like this police officer made a very quick judgment to shoot her through this window and that makes absolutely no sense at all." A GoFundMe campaign to support Jefferson's family has raised more than $135,000. (Merritt has called the shooting murder.)

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