The Texas police officer who shot and killed Atiana Jefferson last week was reportedly not responding to a neighbor's well check call, as previously believed. Instead, Aaron York Dean was ordered to investigate an "open structure call" on Jefferson's home. Experts believe this could have made the difference in his behavior.
Dean shot and killed Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, last weekend in her own home. As body-camera footage shows, he shot through the window of the house. On Tuesday, Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus told reporters that Dean was responding to an "open structure call."
"The information came from the neighbor to the call-takers and while it was relayed to the dispatch, it was determined to be an open structure call," Kraus said, according to a report by CNN.
The neighbors who called police intended to get a "wellness check" on Jefferson, which is far different from an "open structure" or "open door" call. After noticing that Jefferson's front door was left open, the neighbors called fearing for Jefferson's safety.
"Well, the front doors have been open since 10 o'clock. I haven't seen anybody moving around. It's not normal for them to have both of the doors open this time of night," the caller said. "They're usually home but they never have both doors open."
The president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association Michael "Britt" London told reporters about the difference in the two calls. With an "open structure" call, he said, cops are trained to be on higher alert, considering the possibility of a burglary or breaking-and-entering. They keep their eyes out for broken windows, smashed-in doors or other suspicious signs.
"You are at a higher sensitivity to what is going on with that house," London told CNN. "You have to be ready for anything. You are taking more of your environment in consideration to be ready for a surprise if there's one."
As Dean's body-camera footage shows, he never identified himself as a police officer before shots were fired. Dean crept around the outside of the house, peering in through windows with a flashlight. When he saw Jefferson in one room, he yelled: "Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" before firing a single shot through the glass.
Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she was shot. Dean resigned on Monday before he could be fired from the police force. Still, the debate about gun violence, racial injustice and police brutality rages on social media.