Man Killed by Plainclothes Cop in Florida Had Gun, Police Say
The Palm Beach Gardens police said a cop investigated a possible abandoned car.
— -- Police say they found a gun next to the car of a church musician who was fatally shot by a plainclothes officer on the side of the road in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, early Sunday.
Corey Jones, 31, a drummer in the area, was stranded on I-95 due to car issues, his family members reportedly said.
The Palm Beach Gardens Police said Officer Nouman Raja, who was driving an unmarked car, had stopped to "investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle" around 3:15 a.m. on Sunday.
"As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject," a statement from police read. "As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm resulting in the death of the subject, Corey Jones."
Palm Beach Gardens police said Tuesday evening that a gun was recovered on the ground outside Jones' car and the box it was purchased in was found inside Jones' car.
Jones bought the gun three days before the shooting, the police said. They would not elaborate, citing an independent investigation by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
The officer is on paid administrative leave, the Palm Beach Gardens police said.
Jones' grandfather, Bishop Sylvester Banks, and other family members work at the church, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Banks said today his grandson was a "lovely grandchild" with a clean record. When asked what he would say to the officer involved, an emotional Banks said, "I would plead to him to tell the truth. The truth will set you free."
The Jones family issued a statement today thanking those "who have reached out in support regarding the tragic death of our beloved Corey."
"Corey Jones was a God-fearing man who dedicated his life to doing the right thing. He lived every moment to the fullest and was an inspiration to many; the kind of son, brother and friend people could only hope for," the family said in the statement. "Rest assured, we are working diligently with our legal team to determine exactly why this plainclothes police officer in an unmarked car would approach Corey. We will never forget Corey. We are hopeful that the memory of his smiling face will give us strength during this incredibly difficult time."
The Rev. Chiquita Rolle Jones of the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach told ABC News that Jones once played for their ministry.
"He was a soft-spoken individual who was looked up to by other inspiring drummers," she said. "He had a passion for playing the drums as well as for people. Corey's smile and his presence said it all about him. He was a humble and kind-hearted young man. Corey will be missed."
Some of those who knew Jones took to social media to defend him.
The police killed a friend of mine this morning. Before they tell you he was a thug, he played drums in church every single Sunday.— Benjamin Dixon (@TheBpDShow) October 19, 2015
The family has reportedly said that Jones did have a concealed carry permit because of his job as a property inspector, according to NBC affiliate WPTV. However, the Florida Department of Agriculture, which oversees these permits in the state, would not confirm that Jones had a permit, citing privacy law.
Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President John Kazanjian said Raja, who was hired in April from another police department, has received several death threats and is a "basketcase" at the moment. He told ABC News that the Palm Beach Garden Police Department and Sheriff’s Office "need to address the public and the media."
"Right now there are too many unknowns," he said.