Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja shot and killed Corey Jones, 31, on an interstate exit ramp to Palm Beach Gardens on Sunday morning at approximately 3:30 am. The shooting never should have happened.
Jones was a professional musician who played in a church band that had been touring the country recently. His car had broken down as he was driving home after playing a gig. He stopped along an exit ramp off I-95 to Palm Beach Gardens and he was waiting for a tow truck when Officer Raja arrived. Raja was on-duty dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle.
CBS News, Channel 12 reported,
A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Gardens Police, Ellen Lovejoy, said Raja claimed he came upon what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle on the southbound exit ramp of Interstate 95 at PGA Boulevard. Lovejoy said Raja claimed he was confronted by an armed subject.
Police say, as a result of the confrontation, Raja fired his weapon, killing Corey Jones at the scene.
Difficult to imagine why Jones would have ‘confronted’ Raja, since he was patiently waiting for a tow truck to arrive.
Indeed, Jones’s friend and fellow band member, Boris Simoneov told CBS News, Channel 12,
Everything seemed normal. Corey was completely himself. We shook hands gave each other a high-five and he left and I finished putting away some of the gear and equipment.
I don’t understand how anyone could ever perceive Corey is a threat he’s the most level-headed, calm kind-hearted person.
Simoneov also told Channel 12 that another band member met up with Jones, just before the police arrived, to help him after his car broke down. He declined the offer since the tow truck was on the way, so the friend left.
Channel 12 CBS News, interviewed Corey’s uncle, Kenneth Banks,
Banks spoke publicly at the church Corey played drums for and was a well known community figure for volunteering and helping with children, he said.
Jones was known for working hard and being the church drummer.
He called his nephew ‘a servant for the community.’
Channel 12 CBS News recently reported that police said,
Raja has been with Palm Beach Gardens Police since April 2015. He was working as part of a burglary detail at the time of the shooting.
Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp said deputies with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office found a gun on the ground outside Jones’ car after the shooting. Stepp also said officers found the box it came in, and said the serial number on the box matched the number on the gun.
Stepp said authorities confirmed Jones bought the gun three days prior to the police shooting, according to paperwork obtained by detectives with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Like I said, Corey Jones should be alive today.
Benjamin Crump is representing his family.