October 19, 2019 / 3:49 AM / a month ago

Texas prosecutors seek murder indictment against officer who shot woman at home

(Reuters) - Texas prosecutors said on Friday they would seek a murder indictment against the former Fort Worth police officer who shot dead a 28-year-old black woman in her home.

Fort Worth Police Department officer Aaron York Dean is seen in a booking photo at the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. October 14, 2019. Tarrant County Jail/Handout via REUTERS

“We have completed an initial review of the case, and based on the evidence we intend to ask the Grand Jury for an indictment of murder against Aaron Dean,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in a statement. “We will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.”

Jim Lane, an attorney representing Dean, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dean, a white police officer, shot pre-med graduate Atatiana Jefferson through the window of her bedroom in the early hours of last Saturday.

He resigned on Monday and police later charged him with murder.

Dean, 34, and his partner went to Jefferson’s home after a concerned neighbor called police to say her front door was open.

Fort Worth Police Department Chief Ed Kraus said Dean was dispatched to investigate an “open structure call,” a situation which could mean a door left open by accident or a burglary in process.

Jefferson was playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew Zion when Dean arrived and crept around the back of the home, gun drawn, unannounced, according to his arrest warrant and bodycam video.

Jefferson heard noises, pulled her handgun out of her purse and pointed it at a bedroom window, Zion told police, according to the warrant.

Dean shone his flashlight into the window, said “Put your hands up, show me your hands,” and fired a split second later, without identifying himself as police, bodycam video showed.

Kraus said Dean violated a series of police policies and it was understandable Jefferson would draw her gun in such a situation.

Fort Worth pastors said the killing was not an isolated incident and requested federal intervention to overhaul a police department they claim leads the country in officer-involved shootings.

Jefferson’s funeral was set for 2 p.m. Saturday but has been thrown into confusion by a family legal battle, local media reported.

Jefferson’s father on Friday gained a restraining order to halt the funeral, claiming he had been left out of the arrangements, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Representatives for the father said the funeral would instead take place on Thursday, local media outlets reported.

In an apparent response, Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing Atatiana Jefferson’s siblings and other relatives, tweeted that the services would proceed as planned on Saturday.

Reporting by Andrew Hay; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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