Fort Worth

Vigil Marks One Year Since an Officer Shot and Killed Atatiana Jefferson

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Monday marked one year since a former Fort Worth police officer shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home. The former officer is facing a murder charge, but Jefferson’s family is still waiting for a trial date to be set.

“We can’t move forward until we have some type of resolution to this,” said Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s sister.

Outside the home were Jefferson was shot, the Atatiana Project and Harvest Food Project held a food giveaway for the community to mark the one-year anniversary of her death.

On Monday, family and friends of Atatiana Jefferson came together to honor her life on the one-year anniversary of her death. NBC 5’s Noelle Walker reports.

"I think the community, not just Atatiana's family, will be able to remember her because of the amazing things that they're now doing together," Harvest Food Project Founder, Danae Gutierrez said.

"We have people out here saying her name, bringing attention to what happened," Jefferson's friend, Christine Dike said. "She would love how a positive is coming out of this negative," Jefferson's cousin, Cerese Fortson said.

The family held balloon release Monday morning at the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.

At a vigil on Sunday, people gathered at the home Jefferson shared with her family on East Allen Avenue.

“I’m going to be honest, these next 24 hours are going to be extremely hard for us,” Carr told the group. “We need your love, we need your support. If you see us and we’re hurt, we need you guys to pull us up and keep us going because this is a long fight. We are still at the beginning stages and it’s a year later.”

On October 12, 2019, Jefferson’s neighbor called the non-emergency police line concerned Jefferson’s front door was propped open. It was around 2:30 a.m. Two officers responded and began to search the outside of the house.

Jefferson was inside playing video games with her young nephew and was unaware police were called to her home. Body camera footage released by Fort Worth police showed the officers did not announce themselves. The family inside heard noises in the backyard. Jefferson grabbed her handgun and went to look out a window.

Aaron Dean, one of the officers, shouted for her to put her hands up. The video showed that one second later, Dean fired a shot through the window, killing Jefferson.

Jefferson was 28 years old. She had a degree in biology from Xavier University and planned to head to medical school. She moved back into the East Allen Avenue house to help care for her ailing mother, according to her family.

Dean resigned from the department and a grand jury indicted him on a murder charge in December. A trial date has not yet been set.

“It’s more than an anniversary, it’s really a year with no justice that’s really what it is,” said Nysee Nelson, who helped organize the vigil and a remembrance parade Sunday. “I feel like it’s one year of still fighting.”

“It’s important to bring that awareness back to the city of Fort Worth so she knows and her family knows and her loved ones know we have never forgotten about her and we are still demanding justice for her murder,” said Kwame Osei with Enough is Enough, a grassroots social justice organization in Fort Worth.

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