Aaron Dean: Texas cop who shot dead Atatiana Jefferson at her home says she pointed gun 'directly' at him
FORT WORTH, TEXAS: A former police officer who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson three years ago made his first statement Monday, December 12, in connection with her unfortunate death. Fighting back tears, Aaron Dean claimed he believed the 28-year-old black woman was being robbed and that he saw a gun pointed directly at him during the welfare check that went awry at the Texas home, contradicting testimony from Jefferson's young nephew.
The former Fort Worth police chief was charged with the woman's murder when he went to Jefferson's home on October 12, 2019, for a welfare check after a neighbor called 911 and reported that her front door was ajar. When asked to evaluate his police work that night, Dean conceded on the stand, "There are probably things I could have done better." Jurors must decide whether Dean was justified in using deadly force when he shot Jefferson out of fear for his own life.
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Dean Murder Trial: VIDEO: Former police office Aaron Dean talks about thinking Atatiana Jefferson’s home looked ransacked - thought it was a burglary-in-progress. Would eventually encounter Jefferson, shoot and kill her. LIVE: https://t.co/kyxM92Bdad pic.twitter.com/iYwCoODAey— Larry Collins (@LarryNBC5) December 12, 2022
On the night of the tragic incident, Dean along with another Fort Worth officer was sent to Jefferson’s home around 2.30 am. Reciting his version Dean said he and the fellow officer parked from Jefferson's home to conceal their arrival. At first look inside the house which was pitch black - using a flashlight, he said the home appeared to have been “ransacked,” so he proceeded as if a robbery was in progress and turned on his body camera. He spotted a screwdriver, possibly used to break in and said all the kitchen cabinets and drawers were open. “It looked like someone had gone through the cabinets and drawers looking for items to steal,” Dean said.
Dean was charged and arrested with Jefferson's murder in 2019. Prosecutors argued he intentionally murdered her, while Jefferson’s nephew, 11-year-old Zion Carr, testified last week that he was playing video games with his aunt the night of the shooting. He added they left the doors and windows open after cooking hamburgers. He recalled his aunt grabbing a gun when she heard a noise in the backyard and said her weapon was at her side when Dean killed her. Tarrant County prosecutor Ashlea Deener said. “The evidence will support, he did not see the gun in her hand. This is not a justification. This is not a self-defense case. This is murder.”
Whilst Dean claimed on Monday that he saw a silhouette of a person but couldn’t see their hands or determine if they were “black, white, male, female” because it was so dark. He added that he saw the movement of an adult reaching for a gun. “I thought we had a burglar, so I stepped back, straightened up and drew my weapon,” Dean said. “I was shouting at this time, shouting commands, ‘Put up your hands, show me your hands, show me your hands,’” reported Daily Beast. “And as I started to get that second phrase out, ‘Show me your hands,’ I saw the silhouette, I was looking right down the barrel of a gun. And when I saw that barrel of that gun pointed at me, I fired a single shot from my duty weapon.”
#AaronDean trial day 4: Dean becomes visibly emotional when talking about the moment he shot Atatiana Jefferson through the window. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/sJTO8ULxhZ— Ken Molestina (@cbs11ken) December 12, 2022
“I just saw the silhouette of the person and the gun,” Dean said. “I don’t recall seeing hands but I saw that weapon pointed at me. The gun was pointed directly at me.” Dean was heavily criticized by prosecutors for not announcing himself as a cop while venturing Jefferson’s home. Dean responded saying it was not part of Fort Worth police’s procedure when responding to calls about buildings being left open. “It’s part of the general training,” Dean said. “We don’t announce ourselves in order to not alert bad guys.” When pressed by prosecutors to grade his performance between A and F, Dean paused and said, “Probably a B.” If convicted, he could face life in prison.