Black Man Fatally Shot by Texas Officer Had Tried to Shake the Cop's Hand

Jonathan Price asked the cop if he was "doing good," and apologized for the broken glass around him, according to a probable cause affidavit.
October 8, 2020, 4:06pm
WOLFE CITY, TX - OCTOBER 05: People gather for a march, rally and candlelight vigil in honor Jonathan Price on October 5, 2020 in Wolfe City, Texas. Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas has been charged in relation to the fatal shooting of Price on Octob

UPDATED Oct. 8, 4:50 p.m.: Wolfe City announced in a statement posted to its Facebook page Thursday that Officer Shaun Lucas had been terminated for his "egregious violation" of city and police policies.

In the moments before Jonathan Price was gunned down by a small-town police officer outside a Texas gas station, he extended his arm for a handshake, according to court records. He asked the cop if he was “doing good.” He apologized for the broken glass around him.

The Wolfe City police officer, 22-year-old Shaun Lucas, had been dispatched to a “possible fight in progress” Saturday night at the Kwik Chek convenience store in the town of about 1,400 residents, according to a probable cause affidavit signed Monday, the day Lucas was arrested on a murder charge. Price, who is Black, was reportedly trying to intervene in a domestic violence situation between a man and a woman, his friends and family members told Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA.

Once Lucas arrived at the scene, Price, 31, approached to ask how the officer was doing, according to the affidavit, which relied on body-camera footage, physical evidence, and eyewitness testimony of the incident.

“Price came very close to Officer Lucas asking ‘you doing good’ multiple times while extending his hand in a handshake gesture,” the probable cause affidavit said. “Price apologized for broken glass on the ground and stated someone had ‘tried to wrap me up.’”

Lucas said he believed Price, a city employee and fitness trainer, was intoxicated, and he moved to detain him.

“I can’t be detained,” Price said, according to the affidavit.

Lucas, who is white, grabbed Price’s arm and used “verbal commands” in an unsuccessful attempt to stop him. He told Price to comply, threatening to use his Taser. Price began to walk away. Then, once Lucas deployed the weapon, it wasn’t fully effective, according to the affidavit. Price “continued to walk toward” the officer while being tased.

What happened next left the Texas town about 70 miles outside of Dallas grieving for a man who’s since been described as a “hometown hero” and “pillar of the community.” 

“Price appeared to reach out and grab the end of Officer Lucas’ Taser,” the affidavit, written by Texas Rangers Laura Simmons, said. “Officer Lucas deployed his firearm four times striking Price in the upper torso.”

Price was pronounced dead at a local hospital. His mother, Marcella Louis, told WFAA she wasn’t allowed to rush to him as he lay dying from his wounds at the gas station.

“I just wanted to hold his hand and they wouldn’t let me do that," Louis told the news station. "I just wanted to crawl over there to him."

An attorney for the family, Lee Merritt, has said Price was unarmed during the incident. He’s called for video of the incident to be released.

“The family is still waiting for an update from the law enforcement and/or prosecutorial community,” Merritt said in a statement on Twitter Tuesday. “No one has told them anything directly.”

The Texas Rangers, who are investigating the incident, arrested Lucas for Price’s death on Monday. Lucas, who only joined the Wolfe City Police Department this past April, is currently jailed in Collin County, Texas, according to inmate records. His bail has been set at $1 million. Lucas’ stepfather told WFAA this week that the rookie cop always wanted to work in law enforcement, and isn’t a racist.

Lucas has retained Robert Rogers as his defense attorney. Rogers, who previously represented Amber Guyger, the ex-Dallas police officer that killed Botham Jean in his own apartment and is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence, did not immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment. He told KDFW, a Fox affiliate in Dallas, that Price was aggressive.

“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,” Rogers told the news station in a statement. “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.”