A Florida officer shot and killed a man waiting by the roadside for a tow truck Sunday, and the man’s family and friends wait anxiously for an explanation.
On Sunday morning around 3 a.m., a police officer in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., stopped on the roadside to investigate what he thought was an abandoned vehicle. The officer, Nouman Raja, was on duty but in plainclothes and drove an unmarked vehicle, West Palm Beach TV reported.
“As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject,” the police department said in a statement. “As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of the subject.”
Some observers have speculated that the man, local musician Corey Jones, may have drawn his weapon because he did not know the plainclothes officer was a member of the police force. With no witnesses or video, it remains unclear what dialogue may have occurred between the two men prior to the shooting.
This shooting added to the more than 780 fatal shootings by police in 2015, according to a Washington Post database.
Mr. Jones’ brother told West Palm Beach TV his brother had called him on Sunday morning to say that his car had broken down beside the interstate highway. Police told him that afternoon that Jones had been shot by a police officer.
Police say that a full investigation may take months, and the police officer is on paid administrative leave.
Many friends and family have filed past the spot by the interstate where Jones was killed. They have expressed frustration with the lack of immediate explanation from police.
“I feel like it’s almost a cover-up,” a childhood friend of Jones told West Palm Beach TV. “They're trying to hide something. Corey having a gun – I never even heard of him having a gun.”
Family and friends held an impromptu meeting Monday to pray for strength at the church Jones had attended since childhood, the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach, the Palm Beach Post reported.
“He was a very, very good kid, well-respected,” Jones’ uncle, Kenneth Banks, told the Post. “It’s very difficult to talk because he’s not going to be (here) anymore. We just ask for the congregation to pray and that we can get some type of closure to this and comfort.”
Jones’ younger cousin, Sylvester "Tre" Banks III, learned to play the drums from Jones, who regularly provided music at the church and was on his way home from a paid music gig on Sunday morning. “I can't explain it. It just hurt man,” Mr. Banks told West Palm Beach TV. “It's like a part of me is gone.”