Wolfe City, TX — As TFTP reported on Monday, a local sports hero was living up to his reputation Saturday night by “doing the right thing” and intervening in a domestic fight at a gas station. Former Hardin-Simmons University football player, Jonathan Price, 31, would be killed by police for helping out his fellow citizens. In an extremely rare move, the officer who killed Price, Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas was arrested and charged with murder for the shooting.
According to the Texas Rangers, Price was not presenting a threat at all to the officer and was merely walking away when Lucas opened fire and killed him.
The AP reports that Lucas, 22, was booked into the Hunt County Jail on Monday night, the Texas Rangers said in a statement released by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Jail records show bail was set at $1 million.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the statement said.
According to the statement from authorities, Lucas responded to the call about the incident at the gas station Saturday night and encountered Price who reportedly just broke it up. The Texas Rangers stated that Price “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” and was then killed.
Likely knowing he did nothing wrong, Price simply tried to walk away after reportedly stopping a man from beating a woman — and for this, he was murdered by police.
“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.”
While the arrest of Lucas was extremely fast when compared to other arrests of police officers, Merritt said that given the circumstances, Lucas should have been arrested faster.
After Lucas’ arrest was announced, Merritt posted: “This didn’t happen quickly. It should (have) happened the day he murdered JP. John should still be here.”
“This is the first step. This man is dangerous and should not be out on bond. The family was relieved to hear of his arrest and are looking forward to his conviction,” said Merritt.
Price’s father, Junior Price spoke about that alleged deadly choice as well saying “I want to see what the man gets… what he has coming to him for killing my son.”
During an interview over the weekend, Prince’s friends and family explained what a pillar of the community this young man was.
“He had a good heart. He always tried to help others,” said Price’s mother, Marcella Louis in an interview with WFAA.“They took my son from me,” she said. “They took my baby.”
The Texas Ranger’s report appears to back up the description from family members and multiple eyewitnesses, who said officer Lucas shot and killed Price on Saturday night after an argument broke out between a couple inside a convenience store.
As we reported on Monday, witnesses described Price as a hero who tried to break up the fight inside the store before it spilled out into the parking lot. When police showed up, Lucas shot Price, who was unarmed.
Many of the residents in Wolfe City — a town about 60 miles northeast of Dallas — remembered the local sports star as a caring man who went out of his way to help others.
Head Coach at HSU, Jesse Burleson tweeted, “Lost one of our own in a terrible situation. Jonathan Price was an awesome young man during his time with Cowboy Football. Was only with us for a short time in 2008 but was always a Cowboy. Prayers for comfort and peace for Jonathan’s family.”
Former Major League baseball star for the Texas Rangers, third baseman Will Middlebrooks grew up with Price and told reporters that news of Price’s death sickened him because Price was the hero in the scenario and he was the only one who police shot and killed.
“What’s really sickening is that he was doing the right thing… he saw a man putting his hands on a woman and stepped in to stop the altercation,” said Middlebrooks. “The man then fought him… then the police shot him. He was unarmed. I’m heartbroken.”
Middlebrooks started a fundraiser for Price’s family which has surpassed its goal of $50,000 as of Tuesday.
Dale Trompler, was Price’s high school football coach at Wolfe City. He said “Price made an undeniable imprint on my life and will be in my heart forever.”
“I never thought that doing so would cost him his life,” said Trompler.
According to reports, the convenience store was equipped with multiple cameras which caught the entire thing on video, however, they will not be publicly released at this time. Though it wasn’t publicly released, the video was likely the impetus behind the charges against Lucas.
As we stated on Monday, this story is especially tragic given Price’s recent comments on trying to bridge the divide between police and the policed. Price has no criminal record and in a tragic irony, he was actually a police supporter who called for peace between the citizens and law enforcement. In a Facebook post in June, as many cities in the nation were on fire from protests, Price drew on his past experiences to find common ground and urge peace.
“With all the tension and animosity going on with race and the 🚔1time ᴿᴺ. . I’m on the same fence as lil Wayne, with him saying a white cop saved his life, and hasn’t been too vocal based off EXPERIENCES
I was raised by the Malone’s and Woodruff’s in my hometown for a LARGE amount of my youth, was my 2nd family then, and still are in 2020 if I have to say anything. The amount of food fed to me 💵 they spent on me, outweighs any BS about race or color right now. I have family that’s never done a DAMN THING for me, or supported my business ventures and they’re my BLOOD 👂🏾🤧🤐 They will FOREVER be 1,000,000 in my book🔒📖 & they know who they are! They’re to blame for my country side and addiction to white women 🍑🤦🏾♂️not complaining one bit 🤠
“There were times I should have been detained for speeding, outstanding citations, outdated registration, dozing off at a red light before making it to my garage downtown Dallas after a lonnng night out,” Price said. “I’ve passed a sobriety test after leaving a bar in Wylie, Texas by 2 white cops and still let me drive to where I was headed, and by the way they consider Wylie, Texas to be VERY racist. I’ve never got that kind of ENERGY from the po-po.”
“Not saying black lives don’t matter, but don’t forget about your own, or your experiences through growth / ‘waking up,’” said Price.
Because cops kill innocent people, even ones who are heroes, sadly, Price will not be able to post about his last interaction with police.