October 18, 2019
Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson will join forces with Harrison Barnes of the NBA to cover the funeral costs of a Texas woman who was fatally shot at her home last week by police in Fort Worth.
Atatiana Jefferson, 29, was killed in the early morning hours on Oct. 12 when a police officer responded to her home for a welfare check. A neighbor had called a police nonemergency line to report that the home's doors were open and the lights were on around 2:30 a.m., according to the Dallas Morning News.
At the time, Jefferson was at home with her eight-year-old nephew, who was playing video games. When she heard noises outside, she grabbed her handgun and pointed it toward a window, the boy told investigators.
Body cam footage showed that the police officer pointed his gun at the window and ordered Jefferson to put her hands up. He opened fire within seconds of the command, killing Jefferson on the spot.
The officer, identified as 34-year-old Aaron Dean, resigned this week and was later charged with homicide.
An attorney representing Jefferson said that Barnes, a former member of the Dallas Mavericks, decided to cover Saturday's funeral with additional assistance from Jackson.
“It was a tragic situation that happened and no one should be killed during a wellness check," Barnes, now with the Sacramento Kings, said in an interview. "But the biggest thing is, anytime someone has to go through that, the last thing you want to have to worry about is trying to come up with the money for a funeral. It’s about the family, it’s about everything they’re going through and our prayers are obviously with them.”
Harrison Barnes on he and his wife’s decision to pay for the funeral of Atatiana Jefferson. pic.twitter.com/D9jQSMycOR— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) October 17, 2019
Jackson did not comment publicly about his decision to offer the family help.
Jefferson's funeral is scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Dallas and is open to the public. A GoFundMe campaign for Jefferson's family has raised more than $240,000.