UTA alumnus charged with murder after fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson

Ed Kraus, interim Fort Worth Police chief, speaks at a press conference Oct. 15 in the Bob Bolen Public Safety Building. Kraus addressed the recent shooting of Fort Worth resident Atiatiana Jefferson. Aaron Dean, the former Fort Worth Police officer who shot Jefferson, is a UT Arlington alumnus. 

FORT WORTH — Aaron Dean, UTA graduate and former Fort Worth Police officer, was charged with murder after fatally shooting 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her home on Saturday. Ed Kraus, interim Fort Worth Police chief, addressed the community on Tuesday, saying the incident has “eroded the trust that we have built.”

Kraus began Tuesday’s press conference by apologizing and said there is nothing the Fort Worth Police Department can do to replace the loss suffered. He said the incident is not a reflection of the work the department does every day.

UTA graduate charged with murder after fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson

Mug shot of Aaron Dean, UTA graduate and former Fort Worth Police officer. Dean was charged with murder after fatally shooting Fort Worth resident Atatiana Jefferson in her home.

Dean, a white man, was arrested for the murder of Jefferson, a black woman, at 6 p.m. Monday after Fort Worth Police obtained an arrest warrant, Kraus said.

Dean graduated from UTA in spring of 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, chief communications officer Joe Carpenter said in an email.

On Saturday at about 2:25 a.m., police received an open structure call at the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue, according to a Fort Worth Police Department press release. Dean was one of the officers dispatched.

Officers searched the perimeter of the house, and Dean went to the backyard, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Dean then shined his flashlight into a back window, saw a person inside and gave orders to “Put your hands up, show me your hands!” but did not identify himself as police, according to the affidavit. Dean then shot Jefferson, who died at the scene.

Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew was in the home, according to the affidavit. He said he was in the back bedroom with Jefferson, and they were playing video games.

Her nephew told police that Jefferson heard noises outside before taking her handgun out of her purse and raising it to the window. She was then shot.

“It makes sense that she would have a gun if she felt that she was being threatened,” Kraus said.

Dean was booked to the Tarrant County Jail and has since posted bond, Kraus said.

Dean resigned before Kraus could terminate his employment, Kraus said.

This case mirrors the recent Amber Guyger murder trial, where the UTA alumna was sentenced to 10 years after fatally shooting Dallas resident Botham Jean, a 26-year-old black man, in his own apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, according to a previous Shorthorn article. Guyger, who is white, said she entered his apartment thinking it was hers and shot him in the torso.

The Fort Worth Police Department is looking to bring in an independent third-party to evaluate the policies, practices and training of the department, Kraus said.

Kraus promptly ended the conference after likening the department’s efforts to building trust within the community to ants building a hill. He said this situation is like having it washed away with a hose.

The Shorthorn reached out to S. Lee Merritt, the Jefferson family’s attorney, but he did not respond in time for publication.



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