Updated: Nov 13, 2020
By: Noah Rubel
On the night of Oct. 3, Jonathan Price was shot and killed by a police officer outside of a gas station in Wolfe City, Texas. Price’s family says that Price was trying to intervene in an altercation between a man and woman before officers arrived. According to attorney Lee Merrit, Price grew up in Wolfe City and was a beloved member of the community.
Price played football at Hardin-Simmons in 2008. Head football coach Jesse Burleson tweeted about Price following his death:
“In Wolfe City, he was known as a hometown hero. Motivational speaker, trainer, professional athlete and community advocate, he was dearly loved by so many,” Merrit wrote in a Facebook post about Price. “I have spoken to the family and have agreed to do whatever it takes to get justice for JP.”
Merritt also wrote on Facebook, “[Price] noticed a man assaulting a woman and he intervened. When police arrived, I’m told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on. Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.”
This account of the altercation between Officer Shaun Lucas and Price was also shared by Price’s friends and family.
“The situation was resolved before law enforcement arrived, according to witnesses,” Merrit said, CNN reports. “Why this officer still felt the need to tase and shoot Jonathan is beyond comprehension.”
In a recent press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety the following account of the Wolfe City incident went as follows: “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.”
According to the Texas Rangers affidavit, the body camera footage caught the entire interaction between Lucas and Price. The results of the preliminary investigation suggest that Officer Lucas’ actions were objectively unreasonable. Lucas was charged with murder on Oct. 5.
From ABC News:
Lucas, 22, responded to a domestic dispute call at the gas station’s convenience store at approximately 8:24 p.m. Saturday, according to the affidavit. Price’s family says Price was attempting to break up the dispute and did not threaten anyone.
Based on the bodycam footage, which has not been released to the public, the affidavit says that when Lucas arrived at the scene, Price greeted him and came “very close to Officer Lucas, asking ‘You doing good?’ multiple times while extending his hand in a handshake gesture.”
“Price apologized for broken glass on the ground and stated someone had tried to ‘wrap me up,’” the affidavit said.
Lucas told investigators that he thought that Price was intoxicated and attempted to detain Price, but Price allegedly stated, “I can’t be detained,” the affidavit said.
The officer then tried to detain Price “by grabbing his arm and using verbal commands,” but was unsuccessful, the affidavit said. He then produced his Taser, according to the affidavit.
Lucas warned Price to comply or he would use his Taser, and when Price walked away, the officer fired the Taser, the affidavit said.
While being tased, Price walked toward Lucas and tried to reach for the weapon, at which point the officer took out his service weapon and fired four times, according to the affidavit.
Police have not released any more details about the initial fight that brought Lucas to the gas station. Price’s Funeral was held on Oct. 10, at Wolfe City’s high school football field. On Oct. 8, many members of the Hardin-Simmons University student body, faculty and attended a service honoring Price in the Logsdon Chapel.