HUNT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – The attorney for the Wolfe City police officer charged with murder after allegedly killing Jonathan Price says his client shot Price after he resisted and tried to take his Taser.
Defense Attorney Robert L. Rogers represents Officer Shaun Lucas. He sent CBS 11 News the following statement:
“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. “
Officer Lucas was arrested on October 5 and charged with the shooting death of Price, who had allegedly intervened in a domestic violence incident outside a convenience store.
Earlier on Tuesday Hunt County District Attorney Noble Walker issued a statement concerning the case that said, in part, “Though an arrest has been made, our office has not received the case from the Texas Rangers as it remains an active and ongoing investigation. As is customary, this case will be filed with our office once the investigation is complete.”
During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the family, responded saying, “A prosecutor is responsible, they have investigators in that office, who are responsible to coordinate with the Texas Rangers. This is not the Texas Rangers investigation alone, but it is the responsibility of the elected prosecutor of Hunt County to actively participate in this investigation, to lead and direct the Rangers.”
On Monday the Texas Rangers, who are handling the investigation, gave some brief details about what happened on the evening of October 3. The statement they released said, in part –
“Officer Lucas attempted to detain Price, who resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away. Officer Lucas deployed his Taser followed by discharging his service weapon striking Price. EMS was notified and Price was transported to Hunt Regional Hospital, where he later died. The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable.”
Still referring to DA Noble’s recent statement, Merritt said, “We found very problematic his statement that the Rangers will present the case to the grand jury. Absolutely not, his office will present this case to the grand jury — through the Rangers.”
Before Lucas was arrested Price’s family said there was video of the shooting and that the Wolfe City police chief had seen it and “wasn’t happy with what he saw.”
Law enforcement agencies haven’t confirmed the claims about the domestic violence disturbance, but family and friends of Price said the one-time college football player was being a Good Samaritan when he was shot.
Hundreds of people marched through Wolfe City on Monday night, peacefully protesting and holding a candlelight vigil for Price.
Former MLB player Will Middlebrooks, a childhood friend of Price, set up a “Justice for Jonathan” GoFundMe page, that as of Tuesday afternoon had raised more than $82,000. Middlebrooks said his friend was “singled out” for his skin color.
CBS 11 News has learned that Lucas had been an officer for less than six months. The 22-year-old has been put on administrative leave and is being held on a $1 million bond.
Rogers also represented former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger during her murder trial of Botham Jean, which gained international notoriety