A Texas man hailed as a “pillar of the community” was fatally shot by a police officer as he tried to break up a fight, according to local reports.
Jonathan Price, 31, intervened when he saw a man and a woman brawling outside a gas station Saturday night in Wolfe City, about 65 miles northeast of Dallas, witnesses told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.
Family members and friends told the outlet that the man assaulted Price, and when officers responded to a report of the disturbance, a cop tased then shot the good Samaritan.
Authorities on Sunday said the cop involved was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation from the Texas Rangers, but did not release details about the shooting.
A former athlete, Price was employed by the city and also worked as a fitness trainer, relatives and friends said.
“Everybody loved Jonathan. Everybody. Black, white, Mexican, it don’t matter,” his sister, April Louis, told the outlet.
Price’s mother, Marcella Louis, said she wasn’t surprised to hear that her son would step in to stop a fight.
“That’s what he always did, tried to help others. I taught him that all the years,” Louis said.
A witness who was in a store across the street when shots rang out recognized the victim as Price, calling him a “pillar of the community.”
“We all love him and think so highly of him and just the nicest guy you could ever meet,” Kyla Sanders told the TV-station.
Philadelphia-based civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt said he is working with the family to “get justice” for Price, calling him “a hometown hero.”
“Motivational speaker, trainer, professional athlete and community advocate— he was dearly loved by so many,” Merritt wrote on Facebook.
“He noticed a man assaulting a woman and he intervened,” Merritt continued. “When police arrived, I’m told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on.”
The attorney claimed: “Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.”
The family will be holding a vigil for Price on Monday evening.