WATCH ALL YOUR FAVORITE BET SHOWS

Atatiana Jefferson's 11-Year-Old Nephew Testifies About Fatal Police Shooting Of His Aunt

‘I was thinking, is it a dream?’ Zion Carr recalled the tragic moment when she fell to the ground.

The 11-year-old nephew of Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman who was fatally shot at her home by a former Fort Worth, Texas police officer, was the first witness to take the stand Monday (Dec. 5) after the lawyers made their opening statements.

Zion Carr, 8 at the time of the shooting, testified that he was in the bedroom playing video games with his “Aunt Tay” at 2:25 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2019 when she pulled a gun from her purse after hearing a suspicious noise behind the house, CBS News reports.

Former officer Aaron Dean, who is white, fired into Jefferson’s home while responding to a neighbor’s safety check because Jefferson’s door was open. Police body-camera footage showed Dean didn't identify himself as a police officer. He has pleaded not guilty to murder for killing Jefferson, 28.

RELATED: Atatiana Jefferson’s Sister Files $10 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The prosecutor said in opening statements Monday that Dean did not see Jefferson holding a gun in the split-second before shooting through a back window, CNN reported.

“This is not a circumstance where they’re staring at the barrel of a gun and he had to defend himself against that person or to protect his partner,” Tarrant County prosecutor Ashlea Deener said, according to CNN.

“The evidence will support he did not see the gun in her hand. This is not a justification. This is not a self-defense case. This is murder,” Deener continued.

Dean’s attorney, Miles Brissette, responded in opening statements that the shooting was a “tragic accident.” He said the ex-cop saw an armed silhouette with a green laser pointed at him and later found a firearm lying next to Jefferson’s body. He said Dean and his partner were treating the situation as a robbery in progress, so they didn’t announce their presence.

Two days after the shooting, Dean resigned from the police force, was arrested and charged with murder in December 2019.

Zion told the jury that doors were opened in the house because he and his aunt had accidentally burned hamburgers earlier that evening. He didn’t see her raise her gun toward the window before Dean fired. Zion then saw her fall to the ground and start crying.

“I was thinking, ‘Is it a dream?’” he testified. “She was crying and just shaking.”

On cross examination, Dean’s attorneys pointed to an alleged discrepancy between what Zion said on the witness stand and what he told a child case worker in a recorded interview. The attorney stated that Zion, after the shooting, said that his aunt had raised her gun.

Zion said he did not recall that earlier statement.

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson’s family, told CNN in 2020 that Zion suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

RELATED: Who Was Atatiana Jefferson?

Jefferson is a 2014 graduate of Xavier University who worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales. She had moved in with her ailing mother to care for her.

If convicted, Dean faces a sentence of five to 99 years in prison.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.


By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.