Ex-cop Acquitted In Small-town Texas Shooting

On Thursday, a jury in a small town in Texas acquitted a former police officer of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man who had offered his hand to the officer when he arrived to investigate a fight at a nearby convenience store.

More than five hours of deliberation later, the jury in Hunt County found Shaun Lucas not guilty of murder in the death of Jonathan Price.

Ex-cop Acquitted In Small-town Texas Shooting
Ex-cop Acquitted In Small-town Texas Shooting

Price, who had played football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, was a city employee in Wolfe City, where Lucas worked. Price was also a personal trainer and bodybuilder with aspirations of opening his own fitness center. After being arrested for murder on the evening of October 3, 2020, Lucas was let go from the police department five days later on October 8.

About 1,500 people call Wolfe City, Texas home. It’s located about 70 miles (96 km) northeast of Dallas, right on the Texas-Oklahoma border.

Based on the testimony of onlookers, it was never made clear what precipitated the fight between Price and the other man. Nicholas Malone testified that he, his brother, and Price went to the 7-Eleven to buy cigarettes after drinking heavily following the funeral for Malone’s father. Malone heard glass shatter and witnessed Price getting into a fight with another man as the trio lingered outside the store.

Malone said, “My brother and I tried to pull them apart,” and he went on to describe how the argument lasted “for a few seconds” before the two were separated. After that, things calmed down, and Lucas eventually arrived.

Price extended his hand to a white man named Lucas when Lucas responded to the report of the fight and apologized for the shattered glass. Price resisted Lucas’s attempts to detain him after he suspected that he was intoxicated. A police affidavit states that Lucas shot Price after he reached for the stun gun he had used on him.

Considering that Price was unarmed, the Texas Rangers decided that deadly force was unnecessary in the situation. Prosecutor Steven Lilley reminded the Hunt County jury in his Thursday closing arguments that eleven eyewitnesses testified that Price was not angry or aggressive in his reactions.

He has passed away. According to what Lilley said, Price was murdered “that night.” “It was murder if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. You should go back and convict him.

Lucas’s attorney Robert Rogers argued that his client was justified in shooting Price “because he was terrified,” on the grounds of self-defense. And that’s the only justification he has for opening fire.

According to records kept by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Lucas had been a member of the Wolfe City Police Department for about six months prior to the shooting of Price. Before this, he had spent about five months working as a jailer for the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.