The former Texas police officer who killed Atatiana Jefferson testified Monday (December 12) that the 28-year-old Black woman pointed a gun at him before he fatally shot her.
"I was looking right down the barrel of the gun and when I saw the barrel of that gun pointed at me. I fired a single shot from my duty weapon," Dean testified on the witness stand.
The former officer acknowledged that he didn't identify himself as police, didn't inform another officer about the weapon before or after they moved into the home, and that his actions were "bad police work."
The October 12, 2019 shooting unfolded after a neighbor reported to a nonemergency police line that the front door to Jefferson's home was open. She was in her home playing video games with her nephew that night, and the two had left the doors open to air out smoke from hamburgers the boy burnt.
Bodycam footage shows Dean and a second officer responded to the report but didn't identify themselves as police at the house. Officer Carol Darch testified last week that two suspected that the house might have been burglarized, so they moved quietly into the backyard with their guns.
It was in the backyard where Dean fired a single shot through the window moments after ordering Jefferson, who was inside the home, to show her hands.
Dean testified Monday that he was unable to see the race or sex of the person in the window. The ex-officer claimed he fired the fatal shot after seeing Jefferson's gun "very close." He said he clearly saw the weapon but "never actually saw her [Jefferson's] hands."
Darch wasn't facing the window during the shooting. She said he never informed her about seeing a gun before he pulled the trigger.
Jefferson's 8-year-old nephew Zion Carr witnessed the shooting from inside. Carr testified that his aunt took her gun out, believing there was an intruder in the backyard, but provided contradictory statements on whether she pointed it at the window.
Dean said Monday that he was shocked to find the boy inside, still thinking the home had been burglarized.
"I'm thinking, 'Who brings a kid to a burglary? What is going on?" Dean testified.
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