Crime

Former Fort Worth officer charged with murder in shooting death of woman in her home

A former Fort Worth officer has been arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, according to jail and court records.

Aaron York Dean, 34, resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department on Monday morning. Early Saturday morning, he shot and killed Jefferson, 28, inside her home on Allen Avenue while responding to a call from a neighbor about the front door being open, police said.

Dean was listed as an inmate in the Tarrant County Jail as of 6:50 p.m. Monday night, according to records. At about 9:50 p.m., he bonded out of jail.

At a press conference Monday night, Sgt. Chris Daniels said Dean was arrested at 6 p.m. Another press conference will be held Tuesday.

Daniels said the department has been working with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, and the Major Case Unit and Internal Affairs are still working on the investigation.

“We value the trust we’ve had with our community,” Daniels said. “We will continue to be as transparent as possible in all police matters.”

Police did not take questions at Monday night’s press conference.

The Fort Worth Police Department tweeted at about 7:15 p.m. that Dean had been arrested. Chief Ed Kraus planned on scheduling a press conference for Tuesday, the tweet said.

Jefferson’s family’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, tweeted that “the family of Atatiana Jefferson is relieved that Aaron Dean has been arrested & charged with murder. We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing. The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing.”

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Kraus identified Dean as the officer who shot Jefferson. Dean had served about 18 months with the Fort Worth Police Department. Kraus said he was going to fire the officer had he not resigned Monday morning.

Kraus said at the press conference Monday afternoon that a criminal investigation was ongoing and he expected to release a “substantial update” by Tuesday on whether charges would be filed. The FBI also has been briefed to investigate possible civil rights violations, he said.

Kraus said Dean has not cooperated with the investigation and has not answered questions from investigators.

Dean resigned in a one-sentence letter, according to the Associated Press. The letter said: “Effective immediately I am tendering my resignation from the Fort Worth Police Department.” The letter was released by the state’s largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

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Kaley Johnson is a breaking news and enterprise reporter. She majored in investigative reporting at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has a passion for bringing readers in-depth, complex stories that will impact their lives. Send your tips via email or Twitter.
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