Atatiana Jefferson’s father wins restraining order over funeral services for daughter

A fissure among relatives of a woman who was shot to death by a Fort Worth police officer opened Friday in connection with her funeral and burial arrangements.

Atatiana Jefferson’s father won a temporary restraining order in Dallas County Probate Court that freezes plans for her funeral, which was scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

The Potter’s House of Dallas, where the funeral was to be held, said in a statement Saturday morning that the service has been canceled.

“As a reflection of our core values, The Potter’s House will continue to stand ready to serve the community when called upon,” the church said in the statement. “The outpouring of global support for Atatiana Jefferson reflects the need for our collective communities to heal. We pray that her memory will not be overshadowed by the circumstances surrounding her death, but rather her legacy be respected, protected, honored and celebrated for the fullness of her life. We will continue to pray for the family and the community that is in deep pain from the senseless loss of Atatiana Jefferson’s life and the lives of countless others.”

The restraining order, signed by Judge Brenda Hull Thompson, prevents Jefferson’s aunt, Bonita Body, and Golden Gate Funeral Home “from exercising any activities related to the wake, funeral preparations and burial.”

The funeral home has denied the slain woman’s father, Marquis Jefferson, involvement in the planning and has been working with Body, according to his application for the order. The application argued that under the Texas Health and Safety Code, Marquis Jefferson has priority to control funeral and burial arrangements.

The funeral was to be held at The Potter’s House at 2 p.m., and an open casket had been planned, according to an advisory that the church distributed to reporters.

Beyond the temporary restraining order, Thompson also ordered that Body and a Golden Gate Funeral Home representative appear at a Monday hearing to determine whether to continue the restraining order.

Jefferson, 28, was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew Oct. 12 at her mother’s house in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue when she heard noises outside. A neighbor had called the police because he became worried after seeing the doors of the home open.

Thinking there was a prowler in the yard, Jefferson grabbed her gun, looked out of a bedroom window as she held it and was shot by a police officer seconds later, according to an arrest warrant filed in the case. The officer, Aaron Dean, is charged with murder.

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office said Friday that it will seek an indictment.

Dean, who resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department on Monday, saw Jefferson in the window and then shouted, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”

Dean then immediately fired a single shot through the window, killing Jefferson, body camera video shows.

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Emerson Clarridge covers crime and other breaking news for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He works evenings and reports on law enforcement affairs in Tarrant County. He previously was a reporter at the Omaha World-Herald and the Observer-Dispatch in Utica, New York.