A white Texas police officer was arrested on Monday night and charged with the murder of a Black man who was "walking away" from a disturbance outside a convenience store last weekend, authorities said.
The Texas Rangers charged Wolfe City officer Shaun Lucas for the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Jonathan Price, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.
"The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable," the statement says.
Lucas was booked into the Hunt County Jail, where his bail was set at $1 million, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Price's family, said the murder charge is a "step" toward justice.
"This is step one. Let’s see it through to justice," Merritt said on Twitter.
Shaun David Lucas is in custody for the murder of #JonathanPrice. His bond has been set at $1,000,000.00
This didn’t happen quickly. It should happened the day he murdered JP. John should still be here.
This is step one. Let’s see it through to justice. pic.twitter.com/ydC124MYbG
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 6, 2020
Lucas shot Price after responding to a disturbance call on Saturday night "for a possible fight in progress," officials said.
The officer tried to detain Price "who resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away," according to the Rangers' statement. Lucas then tased Price before shooting him with his service weapon, officials said.
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Price was taken to Hunt Regional Hospital, where he later died.
The murder charge announcement comes after hundreds gathered outside the convenience store where Price was killed Monday night to hold a vigil, WFAA-TV reported. People chanted Price's name and called for the arrest of the officer, the station reported.
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Witnesses told WFAA-TV that a man and a woman were arguing at a Kwik Check gas station in Wolfe City, about an hour northeast of Dallas, when Price tried to step in and the man assaulted him. Officers arrived and used a taser on Price before shooting him.
Kyla Sanders, who was at a store across the street at the time of the shooting, told the station Price was a "pillar of the community."
"We all love him and think so highly of him and just the nicest guy you could ever meet," Sanders said. "We're all devastated, shocked, we don't really know what to do or where to go from here."
Price's mother, Marcella Louis, told WFAA she was in bed when she learned about the shooting and rushed to the scene.
"And they wouldn’t let me get close to my baby. I just wanted to hold his hand and they wouldn’t let me do that," Louis said. "I just wanted to crawl over there to him."
Price's childhood friend Will Middlebrooks, a former professional baseball player, started a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $48,000 for his memorial and funeral. Middlebrooks called the shooting "purely an act of racism" but called for calm in his hometown.
"This is a really, really tough loss for all of us," he said in a video shared on Facebook. "The last thing I want to see is that town get torn to pieces because of this. I understand you're angry I understand you're sad and broken we all are.
Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas police officer arrested, charged with murder of Jonathan Price