Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson are teaming up to help a family in need.
The two athletes have offered to pay for the funeral of Atatiana Jefferson, a black woman from Fort Worth, Texas who was shot and killed in her home by a police officer last week.
Jefferson, 28, was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when an officer arrived during a wellness check and fatally shot Jefferson through the window, The officer, Aaron Dean, was responding to a call about an open door in the residence.
Dean, who is white, resigned before he was charged with murder.
“My wife and I wanted to do something for that family,” Barnes told reporters on 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 seasons playing with the Dallas Mavericks before he was traded to Sacramento in February, but still feels a close attachment to the area and its community.
“Anytime you come into a community, you always have a piece of that community with you and you want to give back,” he said.
Barnes and his wife are covering half the funeral costs, while Jackson — who has not spoken to media about his gesture— is covering the other half, Jefferson’s attorney told the Dallas Morning News.
Barnes said he is being respectful toward the family and has not spoken to them yet.
“It was unfortunate. It should never have happened,” he said. “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.”