Former Palm Beach Gardens Officer Nouman Raja was indicted Wednesday in the fatal shooting death of thirty-one-year-old beloved church drummer, Corey Jones.
Florida prosecutors revealed that a grand jury found enough evidence to charge Raja with manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, according to The Washington Post.
If convicted, Raja faces life in prison, writes BuzzFeed.
Jones was shot and killed on Oct. 18, 2015, while he waited for a tow truck after his car broke down near an Interstate 95 off-ramp. He was armed with a weapon he purchased legally just three days earlier. Jones’s family said he carried the gun for protection because he drove with expensive instruments.
Raja, in plainclothes, approached in an unmarked car. The officer initially claimed Jones was armed and ready to confront him when the shooting occurred.
Benjamin Crump, the Jones family attorney, said Raja discharged his weapon six times, striking Jones at least three times. Crump also claimed that Raja was not wearing his badge at the time of the incident.
An internal investigation found that Raja’s use of force was unjustified.
The Post writes:
Documents released Wednesday allege that Raja never identified himself to Jones as a police officer as he drove up to the stranded motorist, yelled commands and then opened fire.
Jones’s family released the following statement, praising the prosecutor’s decision to bring charges.
“We were relieved to learn that officer Nouman Raja, who senselessly killed Corey Jones, was arrested earlier today and will face criminal charges for his reckless act. While we understand that nothing can bring back our son, brother and friend, this arrest sends a message that this conduct will not be tolerated from members of law enforcement,” the statement said. “Our goal now as a family is to ensure that this never happens to another innocent citizen. In spite of this news, our hearts are heavy. We lost a wonderful soul. But rather than focus on the reprehensible actions of one police officer, today we choose to celebrate Corey’s life.”