Accused of failing to identify himself as a police officer and gunning down a stranded motorist waiting for a tow truck, a former Florida cop was recently charged with manslaughter and attempted murder. Although the officer initially described a perilous situation where deadly force was required, audio recordings and physical evidence from the shooting dispute his false claims.
On October 18, 2015, Corey Jones was returning home from a performance when his SUV broke down on Interstate 95. After placing five calls to an AT&T number for roadside assistance and listening to on-hold music for roughly 26 minutes, Jones’ last call was finally answered by an AT&T roadside assistance operator at 3:12 a.m.
As Jones calmly explained that he required roadside assistance, Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja suddenly pulled up in an unmarked cargo van from the wrong direction and parked in front of Jones’ SUV. On-duty but disregarding prior orders to wear his tactical vest with police markings, Raja was wearing plainclothes and could be heard on the recorded AT&T call asking Jones, “You good?”
“I’m good,” Jones responded.
“Really?” Raja asked.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Jones answered.
“Really?” Raja repeated.
“Yeah,” Jones replied.
“Get your (expletive) hands up! Get your (expletive) hands up!” Raja abruptly ordered without identifying himself as an officer.
“Hold on,” Jones said.
“Get your (expletive) hands up! Drop!” Raja shouted before firing six shots at Jones.
Although Jones had a concealed weapons permit and recently purchased a gun to protect his music equipment, his firearm was found with the safety on about 75 feet from his SUV. No shots had been fired from his gun.
Immediately following the shooting, Raja called 911 from his personal cell phone because his radio and tactical vest remained on the floor of his unmarked van. Falsely informing the 911 dispatcher that he had identified himself as an officer, Raja claimed Jones had approached him with a gun in his hand and continued aiming the firearm while running away.
But according to prosecutors, Jones had tossed his gun after Raja fired the initial three shots and began running away when Raja fired three more bullets and killed him. Suffering from gunshot wounds to his arms, heart, and lungs, Jones’ body was discovered almost 200 feet from the back of his SUV.
Despite the fact that Jones was already dead and no longer armed, Raja is also accused of lying to the 911 operator to appear as though Jones was a threat and attempting to shoot the officer. Physical evidence and Jones’ autopsy blatantly refute Raja’s version of events.
On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Raja with manslaughter and first-degree attempted murder. Fired from the department following the needless death of a church drummer waiting for roadside assistance, Raja faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and up to life in prison for attempted murder.