Neighbor of black woman killed by white cop blames himself after he called for wellness check
A man who called a non-emergency number to ask for a welfare check on his neighbour feels "partly responsible" for her death after she was killed by a cop in her own home, the Independent reports.
James Smith, 62 called to request the welfare check on Atatiana Jefferson after noticing that her lights were on and her front door was open at around 2:25 am.
Jefferson, from Fort Worth, Texas, was supposed to be home with her eight-year-old nephew and Smith felt concerned for the pair.
Police bodycam footage has been released, showing the officer walking around the residence and looking through the windows, moments before shooting the victim:
The 28-year-old was shot dead by an unidentified white police officer who did not identify himself as a cop when he entered her property on Saturday morning.
"If I had never dialled the police department, she'd still be alive," Smith told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm shaken. I'm mad. I'm upset. And I feel it's partly my fault."
Fifteen minutes after police arrived at Jefferson's home, Smith heard a gunshot and watched as several officers rushed inside.
"I called my police department for a welfare check," Smith told WFAA. "No domestic violence, no arguing, nothing that they should have been concerned about as far as them coming with guns drawn to my neighbour's house."
According to a statement from the Fort Worth police department, the officer shot Jefferson as he perceived there to be a threat. The statement also explains that the authorities found a firearm, but it is currently unknown whether Jefferson was in close proximity to the weapon at the time of the incident.
The statement ends:
"The Fort Worth Police Department shares the deep concerns of the public and is committed to completing an extremely thorough investigation of this critical police incident to its resolution."
The investigation is still ongoing.