Sacramento Kings' Harrison Barnes and Philadelphia Eagles' Malik Jackson have offered to pay for the funeral of Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by a Texas police officer in her mother's home last week.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Barnes will cover more than half of the service costs, and Jackson will pay for the remainder. Barnes spoke about the kind gesture following the Kings' practice Thursday night.
"My wife and I wanted to do something for that family. It was a tragic situation that happened," the forward told reporters. "No one should be killed during a wellness check, but the biggest thing is anytime someone has to go through that, the last thing that you want to have to worry about is trying to come up with the money for a funeral ... It's about the family. It's about everything they're going through. Our prayers obviously are with them, and it was a gesture my wife and I wanted to do for them."
Jefferson was killed Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, while officers were performing a wellness check at the residence. A neighbor had called the non-emergency police line at around 2 a.m., stating he was concerned that the home's front door was open. Authorities arrived at the scene shortly after and began investigating the exterior when one of the officers, identified as Aaron Dean, looked inside a window and saw an individual.
"Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" Dean is heard shouting in the released body cam footage. The officer fails to identify himself as law enforcement, and opens fire moments later. Jefferson, who was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew at the time, was wounded and pronounced dead at the scene.
The 8-year-old reportedly told investigators that Jefferson had retrieved her gun, which she legally owned, after hearing noises outside. The child said he witnessed his aunt point her gun at the window, right before she was shot.
Dean resigned from the Fort Worth PD before he could be fired. He was arrested on murder charges and has since been released on $200,000 bond.
Barnes, who used to play for the Dallas Mavericks, told reporters that he was concerned about the growing gun violence in the area, and pointed to the recent fatal shooting of former NBA player Andre Emmett.
"Andre Emmett, a guy that I played pickup basketball with for two and a half straight summers, another unfortunate incident," he said. "So when you see these types of situations continue to occur, you know that change has to happen ... Anytime you come into a community ... you always have a piece of that community that's with you and you always want to give back."
Barnes said he has not spoken to the Jefferson family, as he and his wife are "giving them space, respectfully."