This is a copy of the letter Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price released following the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson on Saturday, Oct. 12. Price released the letter on Monday afternoon, Oct. 14.
To the City of Fort Worth,
Today, we are heartbroken. Atatiana was a smart, beautiful, and amazing young woman who has been unjustly taken from her family and her friends. The entire city is in pain. As a mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, I cannot imagine anything worse, and I’m so sorry.
On behalf of the entire City of Fort Worth – I am sorry. To Atatiana’s family – I am sorry. There is nothing to justify or explain what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.
To Mr. James Smith, I know you are hurting today as well. You called police to check on your neighbor because you cared about her safety and wellbeing. You were being a wonderful neighbor and doing the right thing to make sure she was ok. You are the type of person we all want living next door, watching out for us. Atatiana’s death has eroded your own your sense of safety and trust in law enforcement. I’m truly sorry.
To Atatiana’s nephew, who has witnessed an unspeakable loss – sorry doesn’t really cut it. This entire city needs to surround him with prayers, support, and anything his family needs.
Lastly, I want to address the images that were released picturing the gun inside Ms. Jefferson’s home. A gun is irrelevant. Atatiana was in her own home, caring for her 8-year-old nephew. She was a victim. And she was taken from her family in circumstances that are truly unthinkable.
I am listening and hear our community. Their heartbreak, healing, and renewal of trust is going to take a significant amount of time. It will be day by day. Action by action. And it won’t start until we provide justice and closure for Atatiana’s family and rebuild a sense of trust within the city and with our police department.
These words aren’t enough – we are taking immediate action. As Mayor, I am asking the City Manager, David Cooke, to hire a third-party panel of national experts to review the department. Everything from top to bottom. City Manager David Cooke will lead this effort and will present any findings to the City Council as well as the Police Department for review.
Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. These words from scripture are short, but poignant, on a day like today. Our community is in mourning, and everyone is expecting justice. This council, this city, and this police department will walk humbly as we work to pick up the pieces.
Justice is critical here – but it will not bring back the life of a young woman who was taken too soon. This is a pivotal moment in our city, and we will act swiftly with transparency.
Mayor Betsy Price
City of Fort Worth
For more on the shooting: