Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, his wife and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson have offered to pay for the funeral of a Fort Worth, Texas, woman shot to death in her home last week by a police officer.
Atatiana Jefferson was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew early Saturday morning when police arrived to her house after a neighbor called a non-emergency line, worried about Jefferson because her door was open.
Around 2:30 a.m., shortly after police arrived to the home, an officer shot and killed the 28-year-old Jefferson through a window, with police body cam footage showing the shooting happening just a second or two after an officer standing outside the window yelled, "Put your hands up! Show me your hands!"
"My wife and I wanted to do something for that family," Barnes told reporters gathered Thursday. "It was a tragic situation that happened. No one should be killed during a wellness check. But the biggest thing is anytime someone has to go through that, the last thing you want to have to worry about is trying to come up with the money for a funeral."
Barnes spent two-plus seasons playing for the Dallas Mavericks, was traded to Sacramento in February and then re-signed with the Kings as a free agent in July.
"Anytime you come into a community, you always have a piece of that community with you and you want to give back," Barnes, 27, told reporters.
The shooting of Jefferson, who is black, by a white police officer has sparked outrage both in the Fort Worth area and around the nation. Aaron Dean, the man who killed Jefferson, resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department and was subsequently charged with murder.
"It was unfortunate. It should never have happened. You think of wellness check not being something that's going to be fatal. So you want justice for the family. But at the same time, your heart goes out to the family that has to deal with that," Barnes said.
According to reports, Barnes and his wife Brittany will cover more than half the cost of Jefferson's funeral, while Jackson will pay for the remainder of the expenses.
Jackson also played for the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars, and joined the Eagles on a three-year contract in March. Lee Merritt, the Jefferson family attorney, maintains an office in Philadelphia.
"They did it because they cared," Merritt told The Dallas Morning News.
According to The Morning News, Jefferson's funeral will be held at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday in Dallas, and will be open to the public.
--Field Level Media