A Florida musician who was fatally shot by a plainclothes police officer after his car broke down on a highway exit early Sunday morning was trying to run away and never fired the weapon he had on him, lawyers for the man’s family said on Thursday, Reuters reports.
Corey Jones, 31, who was on his way home from a gig, was waiting for a tow truck around 3 a.m. after his car broke down. That’s when plainclothes Officer Nouman Raja approached him driving an unmarked van, lawyers said during a press conference outside Palm Beach County Courthouse. Police have claimed that a confrontation between the two men ended with Jones, who was carrying a recently bought handgun, being shot by Raja, who was investigating a burglary.
The 38-year-old officer fired at Jones six times, hitting him three times. However, attorney Benjamin Crump told reporters that Raja emerged from the unmarked van, which had tinted windows, and failed to identify himself by showing his badge.
“This is troubling on so many levels … Corey never fired his weapon,” Crump said, according to the newswire. Crump also indicated that Jones was “running away at some point,” although there is currently no evidence that the drummer was shot in the back. As Reuters notes, Jones’ body was found about 80 to 100 feet away from his car. The bullet that killed him entered through his side and lodged in his upper body, lawyers said.
The death is currently being investigated by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office as well as the state attorney, with support from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Lawyers for the family are also asking to see surveillance footage from cameras located in the area of the shooting.
Raja, who was not hurt, is currently on administrative leave with pay. The gun that Jones had on him had been purchased three days earlier, and Jones’ family said that he got the weapon for protection.
According to Reuters, the officer, who had only joined the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department in April, had come from the Atlantis, Fla., Police Department with seven years of experience. Raja was given a written warning in 2011 after he was ordered to stop a police chase, and was threatened with suspension in 2013 by the APD after supervisors discovered unfiled paperwork and prescription drugs from a drug case in Raja’s patrol vehicle.