PALM BEACH GARDENS (CBSMiami) — Corey Jones was best known for his drumming ability. He was in a band and played at his Boynton Beach church.
Now he’s gone after breaking down on an I-95 exit ramp. He was shot and killed by plain-clothed Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Noumann Raja, who was in an unmarked car.
“This shouldn’t have happened,” said Jones’ uncle, Frederick Bates. “He didn’t pull him over, he was broken down. So that’s a little different.”
Bates and the rest of the victim’s family and friends are stunned that the church-going, laid back man was killed while waiting for roadside assistance after a gig Saturday night.
Officer Raja described a different man — one who was armed and confronted him.
“The handgun was found on the ground outside the vehicle,” said Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp. “Mr. Jones purchased the handgun three days before the officer-involved shooting.”
At the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, work crews are getting ready for a rally on Thursday.
It’s called a “Rally for Answers.”
The family believes investigators have not released enough information. The Urban League is waiting for answers too.
“It’s another tragic life of a young black male that shouldn’t have happened. And we need to see, and the family needs to see, and the community needs to see more information quickly, more factual information,” said Franklin.
The family has hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. He represented Trayvon Martin’s family after the South Florida teen was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
“We don’t’ know how many times he was shot. We don’t know whether he was shot in the back. We don’t know any of these questions,” Crump remarked. “What he needed from police was a helping hand and all he got was bullets.”
The Black Caucus in Tallahassee has weighed in, too, calling on Governor Rick Scott to “restore the public’s confidence” with an independent investigation.
Scott has offered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation. In a statement Wednesday, Scott’s office announced that the governor had met with FDLE officials on the matter.
“It’s going through the investigation,” Scott said. “I’ll monitor the investigation. I believe our law enforcement, they’re doing the right things, that’s why we’re at a 44-year low on crime rate.”
Members of the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach, where Jones played the drums, held their weekly Bible study Wednesday night and a prayer service as they got ready to attend Thursday morning’s rally at Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.
“We’re just praying that tomorrow we do get some answers because there’s kind of a lot that we just don’t know,” said Jones’ cousin Allaishia Fordham.
Before this incident, Officer Raja had a clean record in the six months he’d been on the force at the Palm Beach Gardens Police Dept.
From 2008 to 2015, Raja served on the Atlantis Police Department. In 2013, he received a written reprimand for repeatedly mishandling evidence and paperwork and was labeled “derelict” in his duties for “careless handling of the documented cases.”