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Fort Worth police officer kills woman inside her own home, officials say

Fort Worth police officials said the officer saw a person inside the home through a window, perceived this as a threat, and fired one shot

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A Fort Worth police officer shot and killed a woman inside her own home early Saturday while responding to a call, officials said. 

Officers responded to an "open structure" call around 2:25 a.m. near the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue, east of Interstate 35W, Fort Worth police said. 

Body-camera footage shows the officer standing outside the front door of the home before walking around the side of the house and opening a gate to the backyard. The officer was in the backyard when he turned toward the window and shouted. 

"Put your hands up. Show me your hands!" the officer yelled before firing once through the window, the bodycam footage shows. 

Officials said the officer shot through the window "perceiving a threat." 

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was killed in a bedroom, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office. 

Jefferson was black. Fort Worth police officials have not released the officer's name but say he is white. 

The officer has been placed on administrative leave. He has been on the Fort Worth Police Department since April 2018, officials said. 

RELATED: Who was Atatiana Jefferson? Woman killed by Fort Worth police officer in her home

James Smith said he called the non-emergency police number to request a welfare check at his neighbor's house. He said he saw the lights on and the front door open. 

Bodycam footage shows a screen door closed but the front door open at the house. The lights were on inside. The officer did not appear to knock and could not be heard announcing himself at the doorway. 

Smith said he didn't understand the officer's response. 

"I called my police department for a welfare check. No domestic violence, no arguing, nothing that they should have been concerned about as far as them coming with guns drawn to my neighbor’s house," Smith said. 

He said he was shocked to hear the gunshot in his neighborhood. 

"I don’t know what went on in that house, but I know she wasn’t a threat," Smith said.

Credit: Lee Merritt

The shooting comes in the wake of the recent murder trial for the fired Dallas police officer who killed a man inside his own apartment. 

Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean. Guyger was off duty but still in uniform when she went into the wrong home and killed Jean. 

RELATED: Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years for the murder of Botham Jean

Activists, community members and Jean's family questioned how Dallas police handled Guyger's shooting. 

Many in Fort Worth are already questioning why an officer killed a woman inside her home. 

Fort Worth police officials claim they found a firearm inside the residence but did not say where the gun was found or whether the officer had seen it before he shot. 

Credit: Rev. Kyev Tatum
Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her own home by a Fort Worth police officer early Saturday morning.

Officials also have not clarified what the officer perceived as a threat. 

They said the officers at the scene administered first aid to the woman, but she was pronounced dead at the residence. 

"All of Fort Worth must surround Atatiana Jefferson's family with prayers, love and support," said Mayor Betsy Price in a written statement. 

The mayor said the Police Department leadership is "acting with immediacy and transparency to conduct a complete and thorough investigation."

Community members gathered at Exciting Greater Saint Stephen First Church Saturday afternoon, calling the woman's death "murder" and demanding transparency from the Fort Worth Police Department.

RELATED: 5 people killed by Fort Worth police officers in 2019, records show

"We're not going to stop until we get justice for our village," one man said. 

Rev. Kyev Tatum said the community wants answers. 

RELATED: Fort Worth pastors and activists demand answers after officer shoots and kills woman inside her own home

“You cannot continue to kill people and justify it because they are law enforcement," he said. 

Later Saturday night, Tatum tweeted an invite to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to come to the John F. Kennedy Tribute in downtown Fort Worth next Saturday for a speaking event featuring Isaac Newton Farris Jr. "Together We WIN with LOVE for Humanity," Tatum tweeted.

Others questioned why police officials were bringing up a firearm found inside the home. 

"Don’t paint this sister as no villain. They’re the ones who murdered. They murdered her and there’s no excuse for it. That’s it," said Pastor Michael Bell of Greater St. Stephen First Church.

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