Atatiana Jefferson was fatally shot in her own home in Fort Worth, Texas, by a police officer in October. Her father, Marquis A. Jefferson, died of a heart attack on Saturday, less than a month later. He was taken to Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas on Friday night, the Washington Post reported, but he succumbed to cardiac arrest the next day.
“He ultimately just succumbed to, I don’t know, I can only say a broken heart,” family spokesman Bruce Carter said. “He just never recovered from the grieving process.”
After Atatiana Jefferson’s death, Marquis Jefferson said he would start the Atatiana Tay Jefferson Foundation in her memory to help other Black students who are working toward medical careers. Atatiana Jefferson had been saving money to go to medical school when she was killed.
Her mother had been a nurse for 50 years at the first Black-owned hospital in Dallas, according to the Post.
Marquis Jefferson was in the news before his death for an unusual legal battle. He had to file a restraining order to gain control over his daughter’s remains and her funeral arrangements. He told news outlets that he had been cut off from the planning by in-laws. He was granted the restraining order and took over for the funeral.
On Oct. 12, Atatiana Jefferson was inside of her own home when a white police officer, who was checking on a call about her open front door, shot her through a window without announcing himself as an officer. The officer, Aaron Dean, has since resigned and was charged with murder.
Dean refused to issue an oral or written statement before he left the department.
After Atatiana Jefferson was shot, the neighbor who had initially called the police to check on her open front door told KTVT that he felt “guilty” for calling the police because “had I not called the Fort Worth Police Department, my neighbor would still be alive today.”