WOLFE CITY, Texas (AP) — A white police officer has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a Black man following a reported disturbance at a convenience store in a small East Texas town over the weekend, authorities said.
Wolfe City Officer Shaun Lucas, 22, was booked Monday into the Hunt County Jail in the death of 31-year-old Jonathan Price, the Texas Rangers said in a statement released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the statement said.
Jail records show bail was set at $1 million. It wasn’t immediately known if Lucas had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
According to the statement, Lucas responded to a disturbance call on Saturday night following a report of a possible fight. He made contact with Price, who was reportedly involved in the disturbance, and Price “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” the Texas Rangers said.
Lucas used a stun gun before shooting Price, who was taken to a hospital and died, the statement said.
Police didn’t release details about the disturbance, but family and friends of Price said Monday that the one-time college football player was intervening in a domestic disturbance when he was shot.
“When police arrived, I’m told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on,” said civil rights attorney Lee Merritt in a Facebook posting. “Police fired Tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.”
Price’s relatives and friends said Price, a Wolfe City employee, was a figure well-known about the closely-knit community. The town has about 1,500 residents about 70 miles northeast of Dallas.
Price played football in 2008 for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Hardin-Simmons football coach Jesse Burleson tweeted that the university “lost one of our own in a terrible situation. Jonathan Price was an awesome young man during his time with Cowboy football.”
Full statement from Texas Department of Public Safety:
“At approximately 8:24 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2020, Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas responded to a disturbance call at the 100 block of Santa Fe Street for a possible fight in progress. Officer Lucas made contact with a man, later identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Price, who was reportedly involved in the disturbance. Officer Lucas attempted to detain Price, who resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away. Officer Lucas deployed his TASER, followed by discharging his service weapon striking Price. EMS was notified and Price was transported to Hunt Regional Hospital, where he later died. The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable. The Texas Rangers have charged Officer Lucas with the offense of Murder and booked him into the Hunt County Jail. This investigation is being conducted by the Texas Rangers, with the cooperation of the Wolfe City Police Department and the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office. No additional information is being released at this time.“TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.