WOLFE CITY, Texas - A Wolfe City police officer has been arrested and charged for the murder of Jonathan Price, the Texas Rangers announced in a press release late Monday night.
Price’s family says the officer’s arrest gives them some peace of mind. They say this is a step in the right direction, but they want more transparency from investigators.
Around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas responded to a disturbance call at a local convenience store about a possible fight in progress.
Officer Lucas made contact with 31-year-old Jonathan Price, who was reportedly involved in the disturbance. Family members said he was trying to break up a domestic violence fight between a couple.
When Officer Lucas attempted to detain Price, the Texas Rangers said Price “resisted in a non-threatening posture” and began walking away.
Officer Lucas deployed his Taser at Price and then shot him with his gun. Price was taken to a hospital where he later died.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the Texas Rangers said in the press release.
The Texas Rangers charged Officer Lucas with murder and booked him into jail on Monday.
Attorney Robert Rogers, who defended Amber Guyger in her murder trial, is now defending Lucas.
Contradicting what the Texas Rangers and multiple witnesses said, Rogers claims Price tried to take Lucas’ taser away.
“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 said 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.”
Within hours of a peaceful march and a vigil in Wolfe City Monday evening for Price, word began spreading of Lucas’ arrest.
Officer Lucas’ law enforcement career is short. According to TCOLE records, he spent 5 months as a Hunt County Jailer. He then graduated from the police academy on March 30 and began working for the Wolfe City Police Department two weeks later.
“It's something that came uplifting me since I know he's locked up for my son's murder,” said Marcella Louis, Price’s mother. “I want to see him have justice and just let him feel the pain that I'm feeling.”
No one answered Tuesday at the Greenville home neighbors say Lucas shares with a relative.
The Price family’s civil rights attorney, Lee Merritt, is questioning why the Hunt County DA hasn’t responded to their requests for information.
“What does he have to say about this crime that occurred?” Merritt said. “About the process of justice for people in North Texas?”
In a statement, Hunt County District Attorney Noble Walker says “our office has not received the case from the Texas Rangers because it’s an ongoing investigation.”
Walker went on to say his office will “present it to the Hunt County Grand Jury upon completion of the investigation and would not be commenting further at this time.”
Merritt says he believes the key piece of evidence that led to the arrest is a convenience store surveillance video of the shooting which he and Price’s family have yet to see.
Still, Merritt is skeptical of the swift arrest, referencing the case of Atatiana Jefferson, who was killed in her home by a then-Fort Worth police officer, who is now charged with murder.
“We saw that in the case of Atatiana Jefferson. But Aaron Dean has yet to be convicted of any crime against Atatiana Jefferson, which happened over a year ago,” Merritt said. “How long will this family have to wait for justice?”
Lucas was taken to the Hunt County Jail. But since he worked there as a jailer as recently as April, he was moved to the Rockwall County Jail. His bond is set at $1 million.
The Texas Rangers are leading the investigation with the cooperation of the Wolfe City Police Department and the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office.