WOLFE CITY, Texas – A family demanded answers Monday after an unarmed man was shot and killed by a police officer at a convenience store in a small East Texas town. Authorities said as of Tuesday, Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas is facing a murder charge in Jonathan Price’s death.
The incident happened Saturday in Wolfe City, a town of about 1,500 residents about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northeast of Dallas.
City officials confirmed that an officer-involved shooting had occurred and the officer involved had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Texas Rangers. They did not initially identify the officer or the person shot. Messages left by The Associated Press with the Texas Rangers and the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office, which is assisting in the investigation, were not immediately returned.
Family and friends of Jonathan Price, 31, said Monday that the one-time college football player was intervening in a domestic disturbance at the convenience store when he was shot dead.
“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.”
Standing with Price's family Monday as they addressed reporters near the shooting scene, Merritt called on the Hunt County District Attorney's Office to issue an arrest warrant for the officer involved.
“He deserves justice because he (Price) was a human citizen who was not breaking the law and he was gunned down by police officers,” Merritt said. He said the family deserves “to know every detail of what happened, and they need to know it immediately.”
Price's relatives and friends said Price, a Wolfe City employee, was a figure well-known about the closely-knit community.
Junior Price, Jonathan Price's father, was among those who rushed to the scene after hearing of the shooting. He said he spoke to the officer who shot his son and why he had. The officer told him to get back and he would get back to him.
“Later hadn't gotten here yet,” the father said.
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.”
Former Texas Rangers third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who grew up with Price, started a GoFundMe page to cover his friend’s funeral expenses. “We just surpassed $50,000 in less than 24 hours,” Middlebrooks tweeted.