Texas city approves $3.5 million for child who witnessed aunt’s fatal shooting by officer

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas city on Tuesday approved a $3.5 million settlement for a child who witnessed his aunt being fatally shot through a window of her home by a police officer four years ago.

The Fort Worth City Council approved the settlement for Zion Carr, who was 8 when Atatiana Jefferson was killed. Zion testified at the trial last December of Aaron Dean, the former officer who was convicted of manslaughter in Jefferson’s death and sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison.

Part of the settlement will help cover Zion’s current needs and living expenses, and a savings plan will be established to pay for his college education, according to the city.

Zion’s mother, Amber Carr, died in January 2023 after battling congestive heart failure.

Dean, who is white, shot Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, on Oct. 12, 2019, after a neighbor called a nonemergency police line to report that the front door to Jefferson’s home was open. It emerged at trial that Zion and Jefferson had left the doors open to vent smoke after the boy burnt hamburgers, and the two were up late playing video games.

During the trial, the primary dispute was whether Dean knew Jefferson was armed. Dean testified that he saw her weapon. Prosecutors claimed the evidence showed otherwise.

Body camera footage showed that Dean and a second officer who responded to the call didn’t identify themselves as police at the house. Dean and the other officer testified that they thought the house might have been burglarized and quietly moved into the fenced-off backyard looking for signs of forced entry.

There, Dean, whose gun was drawn, fired a single shot through the window a moment after shouting at Jefferson, who was inside, to show her hands.

Zion testified that Jefferson took out her gun because she believed there was an intruder in the backyard.

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