Breaking News
More () »

Who is Atatiana Jefferson? Former officer found guilty of manslaughter in her 2019 death

At the time of the shooting, Atatiana was 28 years old.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Even at an early age, family and friends knew Atatiana Jefferson planned to make a name for herself.

Now, her name is a cry for justice from people who learned about her life, because of her death. 

The former Fort Worth officer who shot and killed her in 2019, Aaron Dean, was found guilty of manslaughter on Dec. 15, 2022. 

Amber and Ashley Carr admired their younger sister Atatiana, who they called Tay.

The three of them along with their brother, Adarius, made up what their mother referred to as the “A-team.”

A Dallas native

Atatiana grew up in Dallas and that's where her faith grew too. 

Her family says Tay accepted Jesus Christ in her life at an early age, joining Full Gospel Holy Temple in Dallas.

Atatiana lived in Oak Cliff in the southern part of the city, before moving north where she graduated from Lake Highlands High in 2010.

Her family says she had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and took learning seriously. 

Atatiana loved to read and her sisters described her as smart and unstoppable. 

She continued excelling at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she enrolled in the biology program, and earned a Bachelor of Science.

Atatiana went on to work in pharmaceutical equipment sales.

Her dream was to become a medical professional and help others.

But that dream was cut short.

"There was nothing you could put in front of her to stop her. Literally, that bullet is what stopped her," Ashley Carr said. 

Oct. 12, 2019

On Oct. 12, 2019, on East Allen Avenue in Fort Worth, James Smith called Fort Worth Police’s non-emergency line for a welfare check on his neighbor.

He noticed the front door left open at the home where Atatiana lived and cared for her mother.

"I made the call because I thought they were going to do what I called them to do," said Smith. 

But just after 2 a.m., as Atatiana played video games with her 8-year-old nephew, officer Aaron Dean walked to their backyard.

Body camera video showed he failed to announce himself, and when Atatiana appeared in the window with a gun she had legally for protection…

Dean fired within seconds, killing her.

Atatiana was 28 years old.

Calls for justice

Her death sparked protests in Fort Worth and across the country.

Her 8-year-old nephew, Zion, who witnessed the shooting carried signs and called for justice.

Dean resigned from Fort Worth PD and prosecutors charged him with murder.

In the days and years that followed, family members mourned.

They also joined community and city leaders fighting to make sure Atatiana’s name is not forgotten.

In August 2021, Fort Worth City Council voted to rename an east side main thoroughfare Atatiana Jefferson Memorial Parkway.

Months later, they proclaimed Oct. 12 as “Tay Day.”

"People have come together to show their community support for this family," said Chris Nettles, a Fort Worth City Council Member.

More than three years have passed since Jefferson’s death.

Her mother Yolanda Carr and her father Marquis Jefferson both died awaiting Dean's trial. 

The trial finally began on Dec. 5, 2022. After more five days of testimony, a Tarrant County jury found Dean guilty of manslaughter, a lesser charge of what he was originally charged with. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out