Jonathan Price, 31, fatally shot by Texas police while breaking up fight
He reportedly tried to intervene in a couple's scuffle. When officers arrived on the scene, Price was who they shot.
A Texas man called a pillar of his community was shot to death by police after trying to break up a fight between a man and woman at a gas station.
Witnesses say that Jonathan Price tried to break up the disagreement inside the store, but it spilled outside, and when officers responded to the scene, Price was the one they shot.
Price, 31, was a former athlete employed by Wolfe City, which is about an hour away from Dallas. He also worked as a fitness trainer.
His mother, Marcella Louis, said that she was in bed when she was called about the shooting. She said she rushed to the gas station, but the police wouldn’t allow her to see her son.
“I just wanted to hold his hand, and they wouldn’t let me do that,” Louis said to WFAA of Dallas. “I just wanted to crawl over there to him.”
Ironically, Price had been a very vocal supporter of law enforcement on his social media pages. In June, he wrote a lengthy, emoji-filled post about “all the tension and animosity going on with race and 1-time.” He wrote that he grew up with friends who are white, who showed him support. “They’re to blame for my country side and addiction to white women, not complaining one bit.”
Former professional baseball player Will Middlebrooks posted a video on Facebook saying that he grew up with Price. “Jonathan was a close friend of mine from childhood,” he said. “We came up together, played T-ball together. We went to elementary school together.”
“This one hurts… for so many reasons,” he tweeted with the release of a statement.
“See this face? This is the face of one of my childhood friends. The face of my first ever favorite teammate,” Middlebrooks wrote, “But unfortunately it’s the face of a man whose life was taken away from him last night with his hands in the air, while a small-town East Texas cop shot him once in the chest and then twice in the back.”
“There’s no excuses this time,” Middlebrooks, who is white, wrote. “This was purely an act of racism. Period.”
“I’m sick. I’m heartbroken…and I’m furious,” he concluded.
Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting. They have not released the name of the officer but said that he is on administrative leave.
A witness at the scene, Kyle Sanders, said that he was at a store across the street when the shooting happened and that he and others were “shocked” that Price was shot.
“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.”
Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt wrote that he had spoken to Price’s family. He said he is working with the family to “get justice.”
The attorney provided more details about what may have happened during the shooting: “When police arrived, I’m told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on,” Merritt wrote on Facebook. “Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.”
On social media, Price had expressed that he had been pulled over by police many times and was often let go, despite having outstanding citations: “I’ve passed a sobriety test after leaving a bar in Wylie, Texas by white cops and still let me drive to where I was headed, and by the way they consider Wylie, Texas to be VERY racist.”
“I’ve never got that kind of ENERGY from the po-po,” he wrote. “Not saying Black lives don’t matter, but don’t forget about your own, or your experiences through growth / ‘waking up.'”
In another post, Price shared that he hadn’t ever experienced police profiling and opined that “aggressive rioting” is fanning the flames of blacks’ brutality.
“I can’t even claim it,” he wrote.
Middlebrooks set up a GoFundMe to support Price’s memorial services.