A wellness check proves to be fatal
by Frederick H. Lowe
A Fort Worth, Texas, police officer dispatched to a home for a wellness check shot and killed the occupant.
The cop, who has not been named, fired a fatal shot around 2:20 a.m. through a window of the home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue, killing Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, 28. She died at the scene.
The deadly shooting is similar in every way to the September 6, 2018, murder of Botham Jean, who was shot to death by former Dallas police officer Amber Gugyer. Dallas is near Fort Worth. Jean and Jefferson were black. Both cops are white.
The cop ordered Jefferson to show her hands before firing through a window killing her, according to a police dash-cam video. He claimed he perceived her as a threat. There was a gun in the house, but it wasn’t near her.
Prior to the murder of Botham Jean, he was sitting on his couch eating ice cream when Guyger walked into his apartment thinking it was where she lived. She immediately assumed Jean was a burglar. Her apartment was one floor below Jean’s. Guyger fired two shots wounding Jean. He died in a local hospital.
Guyger, who was sentenced to 10 years for the murder of Jean, applied for a job with the Fort Worth Police Department but was rejected because she had smoked marijuana.
James Smith, a neighbor, called police on a non emergency line to ask that a wellness check be conducted at the Jefferson home because the front door was open in the middle of the night. After the deadly shooting, Smith said he was devastated.
“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” Smith said. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’s still be alive.”
Jefferson, who attended Xavier University in New Orleans, lived in the house to care for her nephew and a grandparent. A native of Dallas, she was involved in pharmaceutical sales.
Fort Worth police have shot and killed five persons so far this year.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer who represented Jean’s family, has been hired to serve as the Jefferson’s family attorney.