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 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 [sic] reasonable,” the statement said.
Jail records show bail was set at $1 million US. 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 in the closely knit community. The town has about 1,500 residents and is about 115 kilometres northeast of Dallas.
Price played football in 2008 for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Tex. 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.”