NBA star Harrison Barnes will pay shooting victim's funeral costs

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes will cover nearly all the funeral costs for Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot by a police officer this past weekend.

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The tragic story tugged on the heart of the NBA star, who won a gold medal with the United States in the 2016 Olympics. Last Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, the 29-year-old Jefferson had checked in on her 8-year old nephew, and she played video games with him throughout the night and into the early morning. A wellness check by police ended tragically when officers arrived at the house in response to a report that the door was left open.

Jefferson was shot inside the home after the “officers saw someone near a window inside and had perceived a threat. The officer has since been arrested and charged with murder.

Barnes played the better part of three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks before joining the Kings in a trade during the 2019 season.

“My wife and I want to do something for that family. It’s a tragic situation. No one should be killed during a wellness check,” Barnes said on Thursday. “But the biggest thing is, anytime someone has to go through that, the last thing you want to have to worry about is coming up with the money for a funeral.”

The funeral for Jefferson is this Saturday. Barnes will cover 90% of the funeral costs with the remainder to be taken by Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

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“It was unfortunate, it should never happen. You think about a wellness check being something that is going to be fatal, so you want justice for the family," Barnes said.  "But at the same time, your heart goes out to the family that has to now deal with that.”