Texas Officer Fired After Being Charged in Shooting Death

This booking photo provided by the Hunt County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office shows Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas on Oct. 5, 2020. (Hunt County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

GREENVILLE, Texas (CN) — An East Texas town fired white police officer Shaun Lucas Thursday, five days after he shot and killed an unarmed Black man who reportedly offered him a handshake after breaking up a fight.

Wolfe City officials announced the termination on the city’s Facebook page, stating they have “fully cooperated” with a criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers and the Hunt County District Attorney’s office in the shooting death of Jonathan Price.

“Earlier today Mr. Lucas was terminated for his egregious violation of the city’s and police department’s policies,” the city said. “As the mayor and council of Wolfe City we want to extend our gratitude that the gatherings in support of Mr. Price and his family have remained peaceful. Wolfe City is a tight-knit community, and we join you in mourning Jonathan’s death and the events of the last week.”

The statement asked for support for the city’s employees since Price, 31, was a city employee and many of his coworkers also worked with Lucas.

City officials had earlier placed Lucas on administrative leave pending the investigation.

The Rangers arrested Lucas, 22, on Monday on a murder charge. He is currently being held on $1 million bond, according to Collin County Jail records. The Rangers said Lucas was responding to reports of a fight at a convenience store. Price was not a participant in the fight, he reportedly helped end it and greeted Lucas as he arrived.

“Officer Lucas attempted to detain Price, who resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” the Rangers said in a statement. “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.”

Body camera footage of the arrest has yet to be released to the public. According to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday, Price “came very close to Officer Lucas, asking ‘You doing good?’ multiple times while extending his hand” to shake hands.

“Price apologized for broken glass on the ground and states someone had tried to ‘wrap me up,’” the affidavit stated.

Lucas told the Rangers he thought Price was drunk and that when he tried to detain him, Price allegedly said “I can’t be detained.” Lucas said he fired his Taser when Price walked away, taking out his gun to shoot Price four times when he walked towards the cop and allegedly tried to reach for the Taser.

Lee Merritt, the Price family’s attorney, has yet to comment on Lucas’ firing. A press conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon was cancelled.

Lucas is represented by Dallas attorney Robert Rogers, who said on Tuesday Lucas fired his gun when Price tried to take the Taser.

“Mr. Price resisted the effects of the taser and attempted to take it away from Officer Lucas,” Rogers said at the time. “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 best is known for representing former Dallas cop Amber Guyger, who entered the apartment of Botham Jean while off duty, mistook it for her own home and shot Jean after believing him to be an intruder. Guyger is serving ten years in state prison for murder.

Wolfe City is approximately 70 miles northeast of Dallas, with a population of 1,472 people as of 2018. Lucas was one of only three officers on the force, according to the city’s website.

Lucas’ stepfather told ABC-affiliate WFAA in Dallas that Lucas is “a good kid” who is “devastated for everybody involved.”

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