On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja on charges of manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder in the shooting death of Corey Jones. Raja shot Jones on the side of a highway in the early hours of October 18, 2015. Jones, an area musician, was returning home from a gig.
Charging documents released Wednesday allege that Raja, a plainclothes cop, did not identify himself as a police officer to Jones before shouting directions and opening fire, the Washington Post reports, Around 3:15 am, prosecutors say, Raja drove his unmarked van in the wrong direction down an off-ramp to confront Jones.
“The grand jury today found that the use of force by Mr. Raja was unjustified,” Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said. “Mr. Raja has been arrested and taken into custody.”
Jones’ car had broken down, and he had pulled over to the side of the road to wait for a tow truck. He was on the phone with an AT&T call center operator when Raja pulled up. The documents include a transcript of their exchange:
Raja: You good?
Jones: I’m good.
Jones: Yeah, I’m good.
Raja: Get your f—ing hands up! Get your f—ing hands up!
Jones: Hold on!
Raja: Get your f—ing hands up! Drop!
Then, Raja fired three shots. Ten seconds later, he fired another three shots. Thirty seconds after firing his last round, prosecutors allege, Raja called 911. “I came out, I saw him come out with a handgun,” Raja told the dispatcher. “I gave him commands, I identified myself, and he turned, pointed the gun at me and started running. I shot him.”
Jones’ gun, which he’d bought only three days prior, was found 72 feet away from his vehicle; his body was found 192 feet away. A lawyer for the victim’s family had previously said that Jones never fired his weapon. “We have confirmed that Corey never fired his gun,” the attorney, Benjamin Crump said. “It really makes you wonder why the officer fired his.”