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Fort Worth Chief: 'Absolutely No Excuse' for Woman's Killing

Officer's arrest warrant says victim pulled gun after hearing suspicious noises
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2019 1:58 AM CDT
This undated photo provided by the Tarrant County Jail shows Aaron Dean.   (Tarrant County Jail via AP)
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(Newser) – The furor Tuesday over the killing of a black woman by a white Fort Worth officer became increasingly about a gun pointed at a bedroom window. But the police chief and activists said the focus was on the wrong gun. Officer Aaron Dean was arrested on a murder charge Monday in the slaying of Atatiana Jefferson. Police released an arrest warrant Tuesday quoting the victim's 8-year-old nephew as saying Jefferson had pulled out a gun after hearing suspicious noises behind her house. Black politicians and others criticized the police and the media for bringing up Jefferson's weapon, angrily accusing the department of trying to deflect blame onto an innocent victim, the AP reports. Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Daniels said the information was included in court papers, so a judge would have a clear understanding of the facts of the case.

"The Fort Worth Police Department is going about the task of providing a defense for this officer," said Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jefferson family. Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus himself declared there was "absolutely no excuse" for the killing and said Jefferson behaved as any Texas homeowner would have on hearing a prowler. It wasn't clear from the warrant whether Dean even saw her weapon through the glass. Dean, 34, was arrested Monday for firing a single bullet through a windowpane while investigating a neighbor's report about the front door being left open at Jefferson's home. Jefferson was staying up late, playing video games with her nephew. The gun was "irrelevant," Mayor Betsy Price said Monday. "Atatiana was in her own home, caring for her 8-year-old nephew. She was a victim," she said.

(Read more Atatiana Jefferson stories.)

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