Will Middlebrooks Raises Over $56K for Family of Friend Jonathan Price, Who Was Killed by Police
The former MLB player said Jonathan Price was "one of my childhood friends ... my first-ever favorite teammate ... [and] a good man"
Will Middlebrooks, a former Boston Red Sox player, is mourning the death of his childhood friend Jonathan Price, who was shot and killed by police in Texas over the weekend.
On Saturday, Price, 31, was fatally shot outside of a convenience store, and a Wolfe City Police police officer is on administrative leave after the incident. In a statement to PEOPLE, the Texas Department of Public Safety said the Texas Rangers will investigate the "officer-involved shooting."
According to family members, Price was trying to break up a fight between a couple when he was shot by police, WFAA reports. Price’s family told FOX4 that Price, a former Hardin-Simmons University football player, was shot multiple times.
Police have not confirmed the name of the person shot by the police officer. The Wolfe City Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Speaking out after the death, Middlebrooks, 32, alleging that the situation was "purely an act of racism."
"See this face? This is the face of one of my childhood friends. The face of my first ever favorite teammate. The face of a good man," he wrote on Facebook, sharing photos of Price. "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 dead. Why? Bc he was trying to break up a fight at a gas station... for some reason he was singled out. I’ll let you do the math."
"There’s no excuses this time," Middlebrooks continued. " 'He was a criminal'... Nope, not this time. 'He resisted arrest, just comply with the cops'.. Nope that one doesn’t work this time either. This was purely an act of racism. Period. So, for all of you that think this is all bulls---, you need to check yourselves.
"I’m sick. I’m heartbroken... and I’m furious. Love you, JP. See you when I see you bro," he concluded the post.
After starting a GoFundMe page to raise financial support for Price's funeral costs, more than 1,600 donors have given a total of over $56,000, as of Monday afternoon.
"Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider helping out a family in need," Middlebrooks wrote in the description of the fundraising listing. "Jonathan Price a good friend of mine was the victim of a senseless act the night of October 3rd 2020. This money will go towards his memorial and funeral. Just being able to take this burden off of the mourning family’s hands is the least we can do. Thank you. Much love."
Family spokesperson Lee Merritt told NBC5 that Price was a hometown hero and a standout athlete. "People from all over the country have reached out to say that this is not the kind of person to escalate a situation with law enforcement," he said. "They’re trying to figure out how this happened."
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