Castro cites Atatiana Jefferson during gun debate: 'Police violence is also gun violence'

Castro cites Atatiana Jefferson during gun debate: 'Police violence is also gun violence'
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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro brought up the recent shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson by a former Fort Worth police officer during a discussion about mandatory gun buyback programs at Tuesday's primary debate.

His remarks came in response to a question from CNN moderator Anderson Cooper, who asked, “If the vast majority of homicides committed with a gun in this country are from handguns, not assault-style weapons, what’s your plan to prevent those deaths?”

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Castro, who was secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, responded by saying, "There are two problems I have with mandatory buybacks. Number one, folks can’t define it, and if you’re not going door to door, then it’s not really mandatory. But also, in the place I grew up in, we weren’t exactly looking for another reason for cops to come banging on the door."

Castro then went on to address the recent death of Jefferson, who was fatally shot by a white police officer in her own home last week during what was intended to be a welfare check.

"And y’all saw a couple days ago what happened with Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth," Castro added. "A cop showed up at 2 in the morning at her house, when she was playing video games with her nephew. He didn’t even announce himself, and within four seconds, he shot her and killed her through her home window."

"She was in her own home, and so I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that," he added to applause from the audience.

Castro's remarks came after former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) was pressed about how his proposed mandatory gun buyback program would go about retrieving assault-style weapons from people without going door to door. O'Rourke said last month that he didn’t believe such actions by law enforcement would be necessary as he sees "Americans complying with the law."

Castro also referenced his own experience growing up in San Antonio during the moment.

"I can remember ducking into the back seat of a car when I was a freshman in high school across the street from my school, my public school, because folks were shooting at each other," he said.