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Police officer charged with murder in shooting of Black man at gas station

The Texas Department of Public Safety said that a preliminary investigation indicates the officer's actions "were not objectionably reasonable."
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A Texas police officer who fatally shot a Black man has been arrested and charged with murder, authorities said Monday night.

The officer, Shaun Lucas, of the Wolfe City Police Department did not take reasonable action in the encounter that killed Jonathan Price, 31, the Texas Rangers said in a statement. Lucas' bond was set at $1 million, jail records show.

Jonathan Price.
Jonathan Price.via Facebook

Price's family has said he had intervened Saturday night in a fight between a man and a woman at a gas station before the shooting.

Lucas responded to a disturbance call about a possible fight at about 8:24 p.m., according to the statement. Lucas "attempted to detain Price, who resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away," the statement said.

Lucas, 22, used a stun gun before shooting Price, the Texas Rangers said. Price was taken to a hospital where he died.

"The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable," the Texas Rangers said. He was arrested, booked into the Hunt County Jail and charged with murder.

An attorney for Price's family, Lee Merritt, has said that the incident began when Price noticed a man assaulting a woman at a Kwik Chek gas station.

"When police arrived, I'm told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on," Merritt said Sunday. "Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they 'perceived a threat' and shot him to death."

Merritt said Monday that Lucas should have been arrested sooner.

"This is step one. Let’s see it through to justice," Merritt said in a statement posted to his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Price played football in 2008 for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.

Lucas' attorney, Robert L. Rogers, said in a statement Tuesday that Price did not inform Lucas that he was not involved in the dispute when the officer said he was detaining Price.

"After Mr. Price refused repeated instructions and physically resisted, Officer Lucas deployed his taser and continued to give Mr. Price instructions," Rogers said. "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 also represented former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who was convicted of murder last year. Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting her unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean, in his apartment.

Wolfe City said in a statement Sunday that the officer involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Texas Rangers.

Wolfe City has a population of about 1,400 and is roughly 70 miles northeast of Dallas.

On its website, the Wolfe City Police Department lists Lucas as one of three officers.

Wolfe City police did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Texas Rangers, a law enforcement division within the state’s Department of Public Safety, is investigating the killing with the cooperation of Wolfe City police and the Hunt County district attorney.