The mother of Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman police fatally shot last year in her own home, was found dead early Thursday in Texas.
Yolanda Carr, 55, died in the same Fort Worth home where her 28-year-old daughter had been taking care of her, according to Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the family. Merritt did not provide the cause of Carr’s death, but said that she had “taken ill” just before her daughter died.
Police are investigating Carr’s death, according to KTVT-TV.
A Fort Worth police officer killed Jefferson on Oct. 13, 2019, after a neighbor requested a wellness check at the home because he saw the lights on and believed the front door was open. Aaron Dean, a white male officer, entered the backyard and pointed his gun at one of the home’s windows, shooting into the house and killing Jefferson at about 2:30 a.m.
Jefferson had stayed up late that night to play video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who witnessed her death. Jefferson worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales and had moved in with Carr to take care of her and the house.
There was no indication that Dean or the other officers with him had identified themselves to Jefferson or knocked on the front door before shooting. Dean resigned from the police department and was charged with murder in Jefferson’s death. A Tarrant County grand jury indicted Dean in December.
Merritt tweeted a video statement on Thursday that showed Carr learning of Dean’s indictment last year.
“We are gonna miss her this Christmas, but I’m so glad that they finally indicted that man on murder because he murdered my baby,” Carr said from her hospital bed at the time. “He murdered my baby in my home, she wasn’t doing anything, she didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Even though I know we have a long way to go, at least we got the charge on him that he murdered my baby. At least we got that,” she continued with a smile. “One step at a time, I guess, but at least we know that justice was served and he will be accountable for murder.”
Merritt said he won’t speculate on what caused Carr’s death, but said police killings often take a medical toll on the families and loved ones of the victims, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“Unfortunately, as a civil rights attorney dealing with wrongful death, I see this often where families have medical issues usually related to the trauma experienced due to police brutality,” Merritt told the newspaper.
Clarification: References to Jefferson as “unarmed” have been removed, as a gun was recovered in the room near her body.