A former Hardin-Simmons University football player was shot and killed by police after intervening in a fight between a man and woman at a gas station in Texas, his family said.
Jonathan Price, 31, was killed Saturday night at a Kwik Check gas station on Santa Fe Street in Wolfe City, about 70 miles northeast of Dallas.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page Sunday, the city said the officer involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Texas Rangers. The city did not mention Price or identify the officer. He also did not indicate where the shooting took place.
The statement reflects “the lack of transparency in police investigations that we are all used to,”
The Texas Rangers, via spokesman Lonny Haschel, confirmed on Monday that they were investigating the shooting at the request of the Wolfe City Police Department. Haschel declined to comment further.
Price’s family and their attorney said they want the Hunt County District Attorney to indict the officer on murder charges and release the surveillance video of the incident.
“We want to see a copy of the video and we want to see the official police report, which we haven’t seen yet,” Merritt said Monday at a news conference at the gas station. “We want the officer to be officially named, identified and arrested.”
Neither Wolfe City Police nor the Texas Rangers have released details of the shooting. But in an Instagram post on Sunday, Merritt said the incident began when Price, who was black, spotted a man assaulting a woman at the gas station and intervened.
“When the police arrived, I was told, they raised their hands and tried to explain what was going on,” Merritt said in the post. “The police shot him with tasers and when his body convulsed from the electric current,” they sensed a threat “and shot him to death.”
Merritt said Monday that the Texas Rangers chief told him he saw a video of the shooting and “was not happy with what he saw” due to the agent’s actions. The owners of the gas station refused to voluntarily hand over the surveillance video, Merritt said. He said he would go through the legal process to get it back if they didn’t. A gas station employee declined to comment when he was reached by phone and a Kwik Check spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Junior Price burst into tears on Monday when he described raising his son to “do the right thing”.
He was standing a few meters from where he saw his son die on Saturday and said he spoke briefly to the officer who shot him. He said he asked the agent why he shot Price.
“He didn’t say,” Price said. “He said, ‘Come back, he’ll tell me later,'” Price said. “And I haven’t arrived after that. It’s Monday.”
Price’s mother, Marcella Louis, wanted to be there on Monday but couldn’t because “she’s overwhelmed,” Merritt said. The family was in mourning and was planning a funeral.
Louis told ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas that when she learned that her only child had been killed, she rushed to the gas station.
“They didn’t allow me to get close to my baby,” she said. “I just wanted to hold his hands. They wouldn’t let me.”
“They took my son away from me,” she said at the outlet between sobs. “They took my baby.”
Price’s sister, April Louis, told the WFAA that her brother was well regarded.
“Everyone loved Jonathan. Everyone,” he said. “Black, white, Mexican, it doesn’t matter. He loved everyone. Everyone loved him.”
Price’s mother and sister did not immediately respond to requests for an interview on Monday.
Merritt and others in the community said Price was known as a hometown hero, motivational speaker, personal trainer, athlete, community advocate, and mentor who worked with children.
“He’s done all those things that deserve praise,” Merritt said. “But that’s not why it deserves justice.”
He deserves justice, Merritt said, because he was a human being “who didn’t break the law and was killed by a police officer.”
“Everyone in this community will echo that this shouldn’t have happened to Jonathan because of the character he had,” Merritt said. “However, this shouldn’t happen to anyone. And it happens all too often to unarmed black men, particularly in north Texas.
“So, unfortunately, we can’t part with the running issue,” he added.
Jesse Burleson, head football coach at Hardin-Simmons University, a private Baptist college in Abilene, Texas, tweeted Sunday: “I lost one of ours in a terrible situation. Jonathan Price was a fantastic young man during his time with Cowboy Football. He was only with us for a short time in 2008 but he has always been a Cowboy. Prayers for comfort. and peace for Jonathan’s family. #CowboyBrother“
Will Middlebrooks, former third baseman for MLB’s Texas Rangers, said he grew up with Price and talked about their friendship in a video posted Sunday on Facebook.
“Jonathan was a close friend of mine since childhood. We came together, we played tee-ball together, we went to elementary school together,” Middlebrooks said, adding that Price was very close to his family. “We know how special he was as a human being. And it’s a really hard loss.”
“This is a very, very difficult defeat for all of us on many different levels,” said Middlebrooks.
He said the “last thing” he wanted to see was Wolfe City “being torn apart for it.”
“I understand that you are angry. I understand that you are sad and broken. We all are,” Middlebrooks said. “Most of the people in that town are behind Jonathan and everything he did, who he is and who he was as a person. And he’ll leave the legacy.”
Middlebrooks said Price wouldn’t want Wolfe City to “burn and tear up and people’s businesses ruined because of that because those people were behind him.”
“This was one person who committed this crime,” Middlebrooks said. “And I pray that justice will soon be served. And I pray that this is handled properly.”
Merritt said the Texas Rangers boss expressed concern about the social unrest during their conversation on Monday, but that he should be worried about Price’s family.
“If this community, if the city officials, if the Texas Rangers, if the law enforcement are worried about this family’s peace, then they can take a step in the right direction, that’s treating the man who hit him. to death. far from where we are now, like any other criminal suspect, “he said.
In June, Price said in a Facebook post that there were times he should have been arrested by police for speeding, pending subpoenas, outdated recording, and red light dozing. He said two white police officers let him go after he passed a sobriety test in Wylie, a Texas town he said is considered “VERY racist.” He said, however, that he had never received “that kind of energy” from the police.
The post concluded: “Don’t say black lives don’t matter, but don’t forget yours or your experiences through growing up / ‘awakening'”.