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Fellow officer says Aaron Dean did not mention gun before fatal shooting of Black woman

The police associate of a former Fort Value, Texas, officer on trial for homicide within the 2019 dying of Atatiana Jefferson testified Tuesday that Aaron Dean by no means mentioned he noticed somebody with a firearm the evening he shot and killed Jefferson in her dwelling.

Officer Carol Darch and Dean had been responding to a name at Jefferson’s dwelling when Dean, who’s white, fatally shot Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black girl who was taking part in video video games together with her 8-year-old nephew.

Throughout questioning from the prosecution, Darch testified that Dean by no means mentioned the phrase “gun” or that he noticed somebody with a firearm earlier than he shot her or after they went inside and searched the house.

Darch mentioned Dean took the lead as they approached the home and moved towards Jefferson’s yard. She mentioned the 2 of them thought they is perhaps on the scene of a housebreaking and didn’t announce themselves.

Dean and Darch went to the house after a involved neighbor seen a door had been left ajar and referred to as a nonemergency police line. Jefferson, in accordance with courtroom paperwork, was up late that evening taking part in video video games and caring for her 8-year-old nephew, Zion Carr. In line with police and physique digital camera footage, Dean did not establish himself earlier than firing his weapon and hanging Jefferson.

Dean pleaded not responsible Monday to the homicide cost.

Zion, who’s now 11, testified Monday that the display screen doorways have been open after he and his aunt burned hamburgers they’d deliberate to eat for dinner. The 2 then continued to play video video games into the evening.

Zion mentioned his aunt pulled out her gun and stored it at her facet after listening to noises exterior, each of them unaware police had been referred to as to the house.

Image: Aaron Dean
Aaron Dean arrives to the 396th District Courtroom in Fort Value on Dec. 5, 2022, in Fort Value, Texas, for the primary day of his trial within the homicide of Atatiana Jefferson.Amanda McCoy / Star-Telegram through AP, Pool

Darch mentioned when she rotated she didn’t see Jefferson’s gun and will solely see Jefferson’s face within the window with “eyes as huge as saucers.”

Darch mentioned that once they went into the room the place Jefferson had been shot, she noticed Zion crying and wrapped him in a blanket and took him exterior.

“I heard the infant and that turned my sole focus,” she mentioned.

Darch cried as she spoke about worrying for the boy’s well-being and requested the decide to pause her testimony.

Dean’s attorneys have mentioned Dean acted fairly whereas responding to what he believed may need been a housebreaking in progress.

James Smith, the neighbor who referred to as police that evening, additionally testified Tuesday and mentioned he had acquired a name from his members of the family round 2 a.m. expressing concern for his neighbors as a result of they’d seen a entrance door and a facet door open at Jefferson’s home.

Smith mentioned he referred to as the nonemergency line and never 911 as a result of he was unsure what was occurring.

“It didn’t look like an emergency,” he mentioned.

Smith mentioned it was “devastating” to be taught Jefferson had been shot by police and that he lives with the implications of his cellphone name and Jefferson’s dying “day by day, day by day.” He mentioned he feels “considerably” answerable for it.

Dean’s attorneys requested Smith whether or not there was crime within the neighborhood, and he mentioned that whereas there have been issues in a part of it, the realm the place he lives was protected.

“It might be much less. It needs to be lower than what it’s,” he mentioned, referring to how a lot crime is within the neighborhood. 

Atatiana Jefferson.
Atatiana Jefferson.Household picture through KXAS

Jefferson’s dying echoes that of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black girl fatally shot by police in 2020 in her Louisville, Kentucky, residence. Each shootings led to widespread criticism and prompted requires police accountability and racial justice in regulation enforcement.

Throughout opening statements Monday, prosecutors mentioned Jefferson’s dying was “an unjustifiable act that by no means ought to’ve occurred.”

Dean’s legal professional, Miles Brissette, mentioned throughout opening statements that Dean noticed a gun being raised, gave the command and fired.

Dean, who resigned from the Fort Value Police Division earlier than his arrest, was indicted by a Texas grand jury in December 2019 on a homicide cost.

Jefferson graduated from Xavier College with a level in chemistry. She returned dwelling after school to assist household with well being points and was planning to attend medical college.

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