Mark Haslett has been reporting on the story for KETR in Commerce, Texas. He told Texas Standard that a preliminary investigation by the Texas Rangers determined that Wolf City Police Officer Shaun Lucas’ decision to shoot, and ultimately kill Jonathan Price, a Black man, wasn’t “objectively reasonable” based on the situation.
“In other words, there was no immediate threat to the safety of Lucas or anyone else present, and no reason to use his weapon. It’s not clear whether Lucas was attempting to detain Price, or he just wanted to talk to him,” Haslett said.
Read Haslett’s original story from KETR:
Update, 10:40 p.m., Oct. 5:
Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas was arrested on Monday and charged with murder in connection with the Saturday night shooting death of Jonathan Price. Lucas was booked into the Hunt County Detention Center and bond was set at $1,000,000.
The Texas Rangers released the following statement Monday night:
At approximately 8:24 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2020, Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas responded to a disturbance call at the 100 block of Santa Fe Street for a possible fight in progress. Officer 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. The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable. The Texas Rangers have charged Officer Lucas with the offense of Murder and booked him into the Hunt County Jail. This investigation is being conducted by the Texas Rangers, with the cooperation of the Wolfe City Police Department and the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office. No additional information is being released at this time.
Original story, posted Oct. 4:
A Wolfe City man died Saturday night after being fatally shot by a local police officer, according to the man’s family members, who identified the man as Jonathan Price.
The family of Jonathan Price told KETR on Sunday that Price died as a result of three gunshot wounds from a Wolfe City Police Department officer. The incident happened at the Kwik Chek, a gas station convenience store, located at 103 S. Santa Fe Street in downtown Wolfe City, at the intersection of Santa Fe Street and Franklin Street.
Jonathan Price, 31, of Wolfe City, worked for the City of Wolfe City Municipal Works Department, according to Terrence Wright, who identified himself as Price’s cousin. Price lived most of his life in Wolfe City and was well known locally, according to multiple locals who gathered at the Kwik Chek on Sunday.
Wolfe City’s local government issued this release Sunday morning:
On October 3, 2020 an Officer involved shooting occurred in Wolfe City. The Officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of this matter by the Texas Rangers. No further information is available for release at this time.
The Texas Rangers routinely investigate officer-involved shootings for Texas law enforcement agencies. The Wolfe City municipal website lists three members of the local police department. Officials have not released the name of the officer that shot Price.
Price’s family told media that Price was trying to break up a dispute between a man and a woman near the Kwik Chek. The man assaulted Price, they said, and when police reponded to a report of the disturbance, an officer first tazed, then shot, Price, they said.
A GoFundMe account has been established for the Price family. The account was established by Will Middlebrooks, a former Major League Baseball player and Northeast Texas native. Middlebrooks pinned a post about the GoFundMe account to the top of his Twitter page.
Philadelphia-based civil rights attorney Lee Merritt posted on Facebook on Sunday that he intends to provide legal help for the Price family. Merritt represented Botham Jean, the Dallas man killed by police in 2018. Merritt also represented former Texas A&M University-Commerce student Carmen Ponder, who was arrested by Commerce police in May 2017. Ponder was charged with evading arrest, but the charge was dropped in June 2017.
Around noon on Sunday, about 20 people gathered at the Kwik Chek. A man identified by witnesses as a local resident confronted two people from the independent website Smash Da Topic. One Hunt County Sheriff’s Office deputy and one Hunt County constable responded on scene to reports of the disturbance. Witnesses said the local man, who was driving an SUV, also struck the parked vehicle of a Kwik Chek employee during the incident. The man was detained by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office deputy, but was not arrested. About 40 people gathered at the Kwik Chek following the incident. As of about 2 p.m. Sunday, visitors had dispersed from the scene.
Wolfe City (population 1,412 in the 2010 U.S. Census) is located about 14 miles northwest of Commerce, and includes the intersection of State Highway 11 and State Highway 34. Wolfe City is in Hunt County, although parts of the northern city limits stretch into Fannin County. Wolfe City is about 17 miles north of Greenville, the Hunt County seat, and is about 70 miles northeast of Dallas.
A vigil honoring Price is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Wolfe City Fire Department, 102 S. Santa Fe St., across the street from the Kwik Chek.
This is a developing story and has been updated.