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Atatiana Jefferson 'yelled out in pain' after she was shot, officer's arrest warrant says

Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean was arrested Monday night on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson.

This is a breaking news story and will be continuously updated. 

Atatiana Jefferson "yelled out in pain" after she was shot through the window by a Fort Worth police officer who was standing in her backyard, an arrest warrant affidavit shows. 

Jefferson, 28, died in her home early Saturday morning after the officer shot her through a window. She was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew and had gotten up to see who was outside when she was shot. 

That officer, Aaron Dean, resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department on Monday morning before he could be fired, police officials said. He was arrested by a team of Fort Worth police officers around 6 p.m. Monday at the office of his attorney, said interim police Chief Ed Kraus. 

Dean, 34, faces a murder charge. He posted bond Monday night and is out of jail. Defense attorney Jim Lane has not commented on Dean's arrest. 

He is the first North Texas officer in recent years to be arrested on a murder charge by officers from his own police department. 

Credit: Tarrant County Correction Center
Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean was arrested on a murder charge Monday for the Saturday shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson.

RELATED: Fort Worth police officer who killed Atatiana Jefferson arrested on murder charge

Jefferson's death comes in the wake of the trial for former Dallas officer Amber Guyger, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean. 

Jean was gunned down inside his own apartment after Guyger walked in, believing it was her place. Guyger, like other officers accused of crimes, was allowed to turn herself in after shooting Jean. 

Jefferson's family, activists and community members have called on the Fort Worth Police Department to improve its training programs and change its policies after the shooting Saturday. 

Police and city officials have said they've requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether Dean committed any civil rights violations when he shot Jefferson. 

Jefferson was black and Dean is white. 

Didn't announce themselves

The arrest warrant states three times that Dean did not announce that he was a police officer when he walked around the house. 

Dean and another officer parked around the corner from the house. Their police lights were off and they did not knock or announce themselves before Dean started walking around the outside of the house and into the backyard.

The officers believed they were responding to an "open structure" call, which is handled differently than a call for a welfare check, the police chief said during a news conference Tuesday morning. 

Kraus said the call changed somewhere between the non-emergency call taker and dispatchers and the department was working to learn why.

Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew moments before the shooting. She told her nephew she heard noises and got up to check, the warrant says. 

She took her handgun from her purse and pointed it toward the window before she was shot, the boy told police, according to the affidavit. 

The officer who was dispatched with Dean only saw “Jefferson’s face through the window” when Dean shot once into the house, the warrant says.

Dean did not give any statement to Fort Worth investigators on why he shot, officials said. 

In such investigations, it's common for a police officer to give a statement to investigators and to the internal affairs division of their police departments. 

Won't back down

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt said he believes the officers handled the call differently because Jefferson's home is in a predominately black neighborhood. 

A neighbor had called a non-emergency police number to request a welfare check because he saw the doors open at Jefferson's home. 

Jefferson had recently moved into the home to help care for her ailing mother.

Merritt said he wants to know why the nature of the call was changed before the officers were dispatched. 

"There's more accountability to be had," he said. "Who sent the equivalent of a SWAT team to respond to a wellness call in a black community?" 

Jefferson's brother, Adarius Carr, questioned what training the officer had undergone. 

Dean joined the force in April 2018. 

"This rookie cop is not going to be the scapegoat for what happened. Yes, he's going to take his punishment, but the system failed him," Carr said. 

Carr is a member of the U.S. Navy, he said. 

He said the officer's response doesn't make sense. 

"There's no way someone is taught to go past open doors, to go through backyards," Carr said. 

Body-camera footage from the shooting shows the officer walk up to the front door. The door was open, but a storm door was closed. 

The family has said the doors were open that night because it was the first evening to feel like cool fall weather. 

Kraus said police officers are trying to build trust with the community. 

"It's very emotional because the officers try hard every day to make this city better. They're trying to build these relationships," he said during the Tuesday news conference. "I liken it to an anthill. And somebody comes with a hose and washes it all away." 

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