The mother of Atatiana Jefferson, the young woman killed by a Dallas police officer while playing video games with her nephew, has passed away. The attorney for the family made the announcement via Twitter on Thursday.
“We just learned Yolanda Carr, the mother of #AtatianaJefferson, passed away in her home early Thursday morning,” S. Lee Merritt wrote. “Atatiana was killed by a Fort Worth, TX police officer while serving as the caregiver for Ms. Carr who had recently taken ill. Memorial Service details will follow.”
Though Carr had been battling illness, the official cause of death for the 55-year-old has not been released. Carr’s passing comes less than two months after Jefferson’s father, 58-year-old Marquis Jefferson, suffered a fatal heart attack, just weeks after his daughter’s life was cut short.
“Tay”, as she was affectionately known, moved into her mother’s home to be her caretaker. On Oct. 12 a neighbor called police to do a non-emergency welfare check because he noticed the doors were left open. Tay was playing with her 8-year-old nephew when Aaron Dean shot into the home, killing the 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep. Dean resigned from the police force and was later indicted by a grand jury on a murder charge.
Merritt told the Dallas Morning News that the holiday season was particularly rough on Carr who credited Atatiana as her support system. Though he wouldn’t make a judgment on what may have caused Carr’s death, he did tell the paper that he has witnessed similar outcomes for families who have dealt with police violence.
“Unfortunately, as a civil-rights attorney dealing with wrongful death, I see this often where families have medical issues usually related to the trauma experienced due to police brutality,” Merritt said.