Black man called 'pillar of community' shot and killed by police as he 'tried to break up fight'

A former athlete "known as a hometown hero" has been shot dead by police while trying to break up a fight, according to reports.

Jonathan Price, a 31-year-old black man, 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, according to his family's attorney.

Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt – who is working with the family to “get justice” for Price – said the good Samaritan raised his hands and attempted to explain the situation to police when they arrived on the scene.

"Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death," Merritt wrote on Facebook.

Officials have not named Price, but relatives confirmed his identity to WFAA.

Merritt described the victim as a "known hometown hero".

“Motivational speaker, trainer, professional athlete and community advocate — he was dearly loved by so many,” he wrote in a public post.

“He noticed a man assaulting a woman and he intervened.

“When police arrived, I’m told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on.

“Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.”

The Texas Rangers police released few details about the incident but said the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave. 

Price was a beloved city employee in the Wolfe City community.

His mother, Marcella Louis, told WFAA she was in bed when she received a call about the shooting. She rushed to the gas station to be with her son. 

"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." 

According to her, she wasn't surprised to learn that her son was trying to intervene in a domestic dispute.

"That’s what he always did, tried to help others. I taught him that all the years," Louis said.

Price's former college roommate Case Roundtree was one of many people to pay tribute to "one of (his) best friends" on Facebook.

"All through school he was the one guy we all wanted to be just like," Roundtree wrote.

"In WC we didn’t want to 'be like Mike' we wanted to 'Be like Jonathan'.

"He was an incredible football player, leader and class act.

"He was the type of guy that you want your son to grow up like.

"This is just not fair…He did not deserve this. He was taken by an act of evil… when all he was trying to do was good.

"He was always doing something good. ALWAYS."

The family will hold a vigil for Price on Monday evening.

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