Friends and family members of Jonathan Price gathered on the high school football field in Wolfe City on Saturday, one week after Price was shot and killed by a police officer.
Staria Hashaway grew up with Price and said his death felt as though the town “lost its child.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” Hashaway said. “The one thing that all Black parents or maybe Black mothers tell their boys is how to respect and how to act in front of the cops, you know? You still do that, and they see this. There has to be justice, because this is scary for everybody.”
Since the shooting, Shaun Lucas, the officer, has been fired by the city of Wolfe City and charged with murder. According to an affidavit released earlier this week, Lucas responded to the convenience store along Sante Fe around 8:30 p.m. Saturday for a “possible fight in progress.” Price’s friends and relatives have said he was trying to break up a fight that evening.
When Lucas arrived, Price approached him and extended his hand for a handshake, asking the officer “You doing good?” several times, according to the affidavit. Lucas later said he believed Price was intoxicated and tried to detain him.
Price said “I can’t be detained” as Lucas grabbed at his arm and used verbal commands. When Lucas produced a stun gun, Price began to walk away, the police documents state.
After Lucas deployed the stun gun, which wasn’t fully effective, Price walked toward him and appeared to reach out to grab the end of the stun gun, the affidavit said. The affidavit said that Lucas then fired four times, striking Price in the upper torso. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Price’s family, said the next step was to present the case to a grand jury.
“From the moment I stepped in Wolfe City, which was the day Jonathan was killed, I noticed this community was different and it just is. I want people to appreciate the fact that Wolfe City is different and that the world could learn something from it,” Merritt said Saturday. “When communities come together and speak with one voice, that’s how justice happens. When we set our personal biases aside, our racial biases aside, our training, our traditions and we deal with the facts and reality of what happened, and look through the lenses of ‘what’s right’ as opposed to ‘how I feel about something,’ what’s right and what’s wrong, I think justice can happen for the community.”
Ola Fields said she had known Price since he was a child. Saturday served as a reminder that time and people should never be taken for granted, Fields said.
“Do like Jonathan, do the best you can everyday. He didn’t pick and choose what day he was going to be a good person. He did good everyday,” she said. “Every time I had seen him, he had a smile on his face. I have never seen him angry. I’ve never seen him raise his voice. I’ve always seen him in peace. I can’t say that about everybody. I can’t even say that about myself.”
In a statement Monday announcing that Lucas had been charged, the Texas Rangers said that Price “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” and that the officer’s actions weren’t “reasonable.”
Robert Rogers, Lucas’ attorney, released the following statement earlier in the week:
“Officer Lucas responded to a fight in progress call. He saw several people gathered at the front of the store. Mr. Price approached Officer Lucas. Mr. Price did not claim to be an uninvolved, innocent party. Officer Lucas told Mr. Price he was detained, and Mr. Price resisted. After Mr. Price refused repeated instructions and physically resisted, Officer Lucas deployed his taser and continued to give Mr. Price instructions. Mr. Price resisted the effects of the taser and attempted to take it away from Officer Lucas. Officer Lucas only discharged his weapon in accordance with Texas law when he was confronted with an aggressive assailant who was attempting to take his taser.”
Rogers did not have any additional comment when NBC 5 reached out to him on Saturday.