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A Texas cop has been arrested for the murder of a Black man who was shot to death while apparently trying to stop a domestic violence incident at a gas station.
The Texas Rangers announced the arrest Monday of Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas, who is white, in the shooting death of 31-year-old Jonathan Price. Investigators concluded that Lucas' actions leading to Price's death Saturday had not been “reasonable,” according to a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety obtained by Oxygen.com.
Lucas has been charged with Price's murder.
Price—who has been described by those who knew him as a “hometown hero” and “standup guy”—was shot to death Saturday night after witnesses said he'd intervened to help a woman in a domestic violence situation, according to local station KTVT.
Witnesses said a fight broke out between the woman's assailant and Price, and spilled out into the parking lot, according to WFAA.
Police were called to the scene, but that’s when the incident took a deadly turn.
“When police arrived, I’m told he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on,” attorney Lee Merritt said on Facebook. “Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety said Lucas attempted to detain Price “who resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away” when he deployed his Taser and then discharged his service weapon.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the statement said.
The Texas Rangers are conducting the investigation into the shooting, in cooperation with the Wolfe City Police Department and the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office.
The Texas Department of Public Safety declined to release any further details about the shooting.
Price was known as a popular fitness trainer who also worked for the Wolfe City Public Works Department, his family told WFAA.
“He had a good heart,” his mother Marcella Louis told the station. “He always tried to help others. I taught him that all through the years.”
His sister April Louis remembered Price for his giving nature.
“Everybody loved Jonathan. Everybody,” she said. “Black, white, Mexican, it doesn’t matter. He loved everybody. Everybody loved him.”
Former major league baseball player Will Middlebrooks also took to Facebook after the shooting to remember his friend and childhood teammate.
“See this face? This is the face of one of my childhood friends. The face of my first ever favorite teammate. The face of a good man. But unfortunately it’s the face of a man whose life was taken away from him last night with his hands in the air, while a small town East Texas cop shot him dead. Why? Bc he was trying to break up a fight at a gas station…for some reason he was singled out. I’ll let you do the math,” he wrote.
Middlebrooks went on to share his outrage about how his friend was killed.
“There’s no excuses this time…’he was a criminal’…Nope, not this time. ‘He resisted arrest, just comply with the cops’..Nope that one doesn’t work this time either. This was purely an act of racism. Period. So, for all of you that think this is all bulls--t, you need to check yourselves,” he wrote.
Middlebrooks ended the post by saying, “I am sick. I am heartbroken…and I am furious. Love you, JP. See you when I see you bro.”
While Middlebrooks voiced his anger, he also urged the community not to resort to violence in another post.
“Wolfe City friends and family…please don’t tear that town to pieces. There is so much love there…it’s forever my hometown,” he wrote. “Don’t let the act of one man make you burn down a city full of good people. I know you’re hurt…I am too. I know you’re pissed. I am too. I know what what JP would want…and ripping his hometown to pieces wouldn’t be his answer. Justice will be served.”
Lucas was taken into custody and booked into the Hunt County Jail, but within just a few hours he posted his $1 million bond and was released from custody, KTVT reports.
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