The officer, 34-year-old Aaron Dean, resigned Monday and was later charged with murder. He was released Tuesday on a $200,000 bond.
Bodycam video shows that Dean, who was responding to a request for a wellness check, didn't identify himself as police and fired his weapon a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands.
Police released an arrest warrant Tuesday quoting the victim's 8-year-old nephew as saying Jefferson had pulled out a gun after hearing suspicious noises behind her house. Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus declared there was "absolutely no excuse" for the killing and said Jefferson behaved as any Texas homeowner would have on hearing a prowler.
Jefferson had been taking over her family’s matriarch role, nurturing everyone from her nephew to her ailing mother.
“Her mom had recently gotten very sick, so she was home taking care of the house and loving her life. There was no reason for her to be murdered,” said a GoFundMe page benefiting her family.
Jefferson's sister Ashley Carr described her to The Associated Press as “a smart, ambitious, kind person with an adventurous spirit.”
Jefferson grew up in the Dallas area and graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2014 with a bachelor's degree of science in biology, and her family said she worked from home selling medical equipment. Merritt said Jefferson was considering going to medical school and had been studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Jefferson's family was "relieved" that Dean was behind bars, attorney Lee Merritt said, adding that the family "needs to see this through to a vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing."
Of the nine officer-involved shootings so far this year in Fort Worth, five targeted African Americans and six resulted in deaths, according to department data.
Nearly two-thirds of the department’s 1,100 officers are white, just over 20 percent are Hispanic, and about 10 percent are black. The city is about 40 percent white, 35 percent Hispanic and 19 percent black.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.