FORT WORTH, Texas — A white Fort Worth officer fatally shot a black woman inside her home early Saturday morning after police were called to the house to do a welfare check, according to police and the neighbor who called them.

The woman killed was Atatiana Jefferson, 28, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police released a statement Saturday afternoon saying officers responded at 2:25 a.m. to a report the front door of a home was open in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue. James Smith, who called a non-emergency police number, said he saw the doors were open and the lights were on, which struck him as unusual. He knew Jefferson, his neighbor, was home along with her 8-year-old nephew.

Police parked around the corner, so the woman couldn’t see them, according to Smith, 62. About 15 minutes later, he said, he heard a loud bang and saw several more officers rush inside.

Bodycam video released by police on Saturday shows two police officers using their flashlights to check the perimeter of the home, inspecting multiple doors that are open with a screen door closed. In the back of home, one officer appears to see a figure through a dark window, and he quickly twists his body to the left.

“Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” he shouts through the window, his gun drawn. He then fires a single shot through the window.

He doesn’t identify himself as a police officer in the video.

Police said in the statement the officer, who joined the department in April 2018, saw a person standing inside the home near a window.

“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” the statement said. “Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency medical care.”

Police released photos of a gun they found in a bedroom at the house. Police didn’t say whether Jefferson was holding the weapon when the officer shot her.

Jefferson was pronounced dead at the scene. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the critical police incident investigation, police said.

The police major case unit, internal affairs unit and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office were on scene Saturday conducting their investigation.

Smith, who has lived on the street for 50 years, said around 9 a.m. Saturday he had been trying to be a good neighbor, calling police on a non-emergency number so they could check on the woman. But he was wrestling with his emotions after a sleepless night.

“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” he said. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”

The south Fort Worth community was shaken by news that felt like a familiar story, and later in the day more than 10 black community leaders and pastors held a press conference to call on city leadership to act quickly and hold the officer in question accountable.

Pastor Michael Bell, speaking inside his own Greater Saint Stephen Baptist Church, read the police statement after it came out around noon Saturday and offered an immediate response. He wondered, visibly emotional and upset, how a person could be a “perceived threat” inside of their own home.

“Ain’t no ‘perceived threat’ — unless it’s black folk,” he said. “Just our presence — we’re the threat.”

Police released some body camera video of the incident Saturday, saying they wanted to be transparent with a quick response. But police said they were unable to release video from inside the house, citing state law.

Police didn’t respond to a list of questions sent by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Saturday afternoon, including if the woman had been holding a weapon, what the officer perceived as a threat, and if officers ever knocked on the front door or identified themselves as police officers.

“Being the preliminary stages of this critical investigation we have provided all the information we have available to release at this time,” Lt. Brandon O’Neil said in an email.

Smith, who’s lived on East Allen Avenue for 50 years, said neighbors look after each other. When he called the non-emergency number early Saturday morning, he said he told police he was simply worried about the welfare of his neighbor and her nephew, he said.

They typically live with an aunt who has been in the hospital, he said. His grandkids, nieces and nephews play with the 8-year-old who was inside the house, and he often worries about the boy crossing the street.

His niece who also lives on East Allen Avenue had initially told him about the open doors and the lights, and when he saw it himself, he thought it was concerning.

“When I saw the doors open, I thought about him (the child,) I thought about his grandma, I thought about his aunt,” he said. “And I wanted to make sure they were safe. That’s all I wanted to do.”

But around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, as he stood outside the woman’s home, he wondered if he had done the right thing. Pastor Kyev Tatum, a community activist, was with him, comforting him.

He knows his street has a bad reputation, Smith said. Maybe, he wondered, police “thought they were coming to something they weren’t.”

The shooting has left him feeling angry and upset, he said, but also saddened.

“It makes you not want to call the police department,” he said. “If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with? Do you just ignore crime or ignore something that’s not right?”

“They tell you, ‘If you see something, say something. … Well, if you do that and it costs somebody to lose their life, it makes you not want to do that. And that’s sad.”

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