On Monday, Shaun Lucas, a white police officer in Texas who shot and killed a Black man was arrested and charged with the murder of Jonathan Price. Price, 31, was unarmed at a convenience store when Lucas shot him. According to CBS Dallas, Texas Rangers booked the officer on Monday evening and an investigation is still underway. While Lucas remains in custody at Rockwall County Jail in East Texas, his bail was already set to $1 million (£850,000).
The shooting took place on Saturday just after 8.00pm local time when Lucas responded to a call about a possible fight, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Multiple witnesses say that Price stepped in to help a woman out of a domestic violence situation and that, while things had initially escalated, it was under control by the time police arrived. In a statement from the Texas Rangers currently investigating the shooting, Lucas allegedly attempted to detain Price who “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away.” Lucas then tased Price before shooting him. Shortly after, Price was taken to Hunt Regional Hospital where he died from gunshot wounds.
The preliminary investigation, run by the Texas Rangers in cooperation with Wolfe City Police Department and the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office, indicates that Lucas’ actions were not “objectionably reasonable.” Little more has been said about the investigation, but Lee Merritt, the civil rights lawyer representing Price’s family, made it clear that they want to see the surveillance and police bodycam footage, as well as official police reports for themselves. “Why this officer still felt the need to tase and shoot Jonathan is beyond comprehension,” Merritt said.
Following the shooting, Lucas was quickly suspended, but it took two days for authorities to arrest and charge him. “This didn’t happen quickly. It should have happened the day he murdered JP. John should still be here,” Merritt tweeted following Lucas’ arrest. “This is step one. Let’s see it through to justice.”
According to CNN, Price’s father, Junior Price, was visibly emotional when he spoke to reporters saying, “I loved my son, and I tried to bring him up to do the right thing.”
Jonathan Price grew up in Wolfe City, a small town of about 1,400 an hour northeast of Dallas. He worked in the municipal works department for the town and was described as a pillar of the community. “We all love him and think so highly of him and just the nicest guy you could ever meet,” Kyla Sanders, who ran to the scene from a nearby store, told local news outlet WFAA.
Price was also a Wolfe City employee. According to his friends and co-workers, he was describe as a "hometown hero," "standup guy" and "mentor who worked with children." Following his death, hundreds marched through his hometown to honour his legacy, while Will Middlebrooks, Price's childhood friend and former MLB player, set up a GoFundMe page in his honour.
The investigation is ongoing and, so far, there is no news of a scheduled court date. But Price's family and friends are demanding justice, saying that he was yet another Black man who was targeted and killed by police.
"My friend tried to break up a fight between a man and a woman at a gas station, bc that’s how we were raised. Don’t put your hands on a woman. Yet he was singled out in the fight, shot and killed... unarmed... no weapon... just his skin colour," Middlebrooks posted on Twitter.
Refinery29 reached out to the Wolfe City Police Department.
This is a developing story.