UPDATE: The details surrounding the death of the Florida musician killed by a police officer on Sunday grow hazier with each detail. During a press conference on Tuesday, Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen J. Stepp revealed to reporters that a handgun was recovered outside of the victim’s car. Police say that they found paperwork documenting Jones’s purchase of the gun three days earlier.
There is still no word, nor video evidence, on whether or not Jones pulled out the firearm bringing the officer to open fire. The family of the victim has enlisted the services of attorney Benjamin Crump, who famously represented the families of shooting victims Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the family of Corey Jones described him as 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. "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.”
Earlier Tuesday, the local police union questioned the police department’s actions following the murder. John Kazanjian, president of the Palm Beach County Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn., told the Los Angeles Times that the department’s unwillingness to release information is bound to spark public suspicion.
"We're very concerned that the police department is continuing to be silent," Kazanjian said. "The inferences out there are that they're covering up, or that the officer did something wrong. We need to come out and quell those."
Kazanjian also said he’s hoping to avoid any unrest and speculation similar to what happened in Ferguson, Mo., surrounding the death of 18-year old Mike Brown.
"They took so long out there to address the public on what transpired," Kazanjian said. "All the play books say don't do that, and I don't know why the chief here in Palm Beach Gardens has taken two or three days to respond."
Two days after the killing of Corey Jones by a plain clothes officer, the details surrounding his death early Sunday morning remain sketchy. The 31-year-old African-American man's car broke down on a Florida Interstate after he was driving home from playing a music gig, the Sun Sentinel reports. He called a family member to let them know he was getting his vehicle towed.
However, before Jones could get help, he was killed during an encounter with a Palm Beach Gardens plain clothes officer named Nouman Raja. The cop approached to investigate the car, which he thought was abandoned. But how did this lead to Jones dying?
Police claim that Jones was armed. “As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject,” a police department statement read. “As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of the subject.”
His family said they were not notified of his death until 12 hours after he was killed. They are devastated.
"He was sitting on the side of the road and got shot," said the shooting victim's uncle Sylvester Banks Jr. to the Sun Sentinel.
Hours before his death, Jones, a drummer, had finished playing with one of his bands, the Future Prezidents. He worked for the Delray Beach housing authority, according to other family members. His loved ones say Jones was also a dedicated member of his church's music ministry.
"I don't understand," Boris Simeonov, one of his band mates, told the Sun Sentinel after hearing of the news. "Something seems really wrong here."
On Monday, his family held a vigil to remember Jones. An investigation is underway but there were reportedly no bystanders or cameras that documented the incident.
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(Photo: Courtesy of family)
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