Atatiana Jefferson, the woman police fatally shot through the window of her Fort Worth home, will be laid to rest Thursday after a court ruled this week that the woman’s father should be involved in her burial.
The services will begin at 11 a.m. (noon ET) at Concord Church in Dallas, family attorney Lee Merritt said.
Among those arriving early were a couple dozen Fort Worth police officers, who Police Chief Ed Kraus told CNN had been invited by the family. The officers are wearing light blue ribbons in to honor Jefferson.
Mourners had expected to gather Saturday at a Dallas megachurch to say farewell to Jefferson, who was killed as she played with her 8-year-old nephew. A neighbor had called police for a welfare check after seeing her door open late at night.
A judge, however, ruled this week that her father, Marquis Jefferson, had the authority to arrange her funeral and burial after the father sought a temporary restraining order, saying he would suffer “immediate and irreparable injury” if his daughter’s aunt buried Atatiana without his participation.
Despite the court battle, Marquis Jefferson has a good relationship with his daughter’s mother and siblings, who use the surname, Carr, according to his spokesman, Bruce Carter.
“The Carr family is invited. There is room for them. They are more than welcome. They’ll be respected. They’ll be treated with dignity, and that’s what should happen,” Carter said.
Shot while playing with her nephew
Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean, one of two policemen who responded to the neighbor’s call to check on Jefferson’s house, has been charged with murder. He has resigned from the force. Jim Lane, his attorney, declined to comment on the case.
The shooting left the community shaken. Aside from the optics of a police officer shooting a woman in her own home, Dean is white, and Atatiana Jefferson was black.
Jefferson, 28, was playing video games with her nephew when the two officers arrived on October 12.
As officers walked outside the house around 2:30 a.m., Jefferson heard noises in the backyard, pulled a gun from her purse and pointed it toward the window, police said.
Dean yelled, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before he fired through the window, killing Jefferson, body camera footage shows.
The officers had not identified themselves as law enforcement.
A week after the shooting, a small group of protesters marched in Fort Worth to decry Jefferson’s killing, according to CNN affiliate KTVT.
“It cannot continue to remain corrupt. It cannot continue to treat one community better than another community,” Kyev Tatum of New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church told demonstrators.
Remembering a woman who loved her family
Jefferson had recently moved home to Fort Worth to take care of her ailing mother. That night, she was looking after her nephew while her mother was in the hospital.
Amber Carr, Jefferson’s older sister, said her son shared a special bond with his “Aunt Tay,” who taught him life skills, such as keeping schedules and how best to prepare for school.
Jefferson had been looking forward to taking her nephews to the State Fair of Texas while Carr recovered from heart surgery.
“The relationship she has with my sons is indescribable,” Carr said. “Sometimes people think that they’re her kids, not mine.”
Jefferson’s father added, “Tay was love. And that smile? Lord have mercy, it could brighten up any room.”
Jefferson loved helping others, her family said. She graduated with a pre-med degree in biology from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2014 and was working in pharmaceutical equipment sales, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt said.