Corey Jones, a 31-year-old Church drummer from Florida, was shot dead Sunday after his car broke down on the side of a highway following a gig. Jones was reportedly shot down by Nouman Raja, a Palm Beach Gardens police officer, who confronted Jones in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
A police statement released Monday stated that Raja, on duty in plain clothes capacity, in an unmarked police vehicle, was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” when he “stopped to investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle” along an interstate 95 exit ramp around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.
According to Washington Post, Jones called Future Prezidents bandmate Mathew Huntsberger for help around 1:45 a.m Sunday. Future Prezidents had finished playing a gig at Jupiter Bar an hour earlier. Huntsberger drove to find his bandmate, who was stranded on Interstate 95. “I tried to help him the best I could, but I’m not a mechanic or anything,” Huntsberger told The Post on Monday afternoon. Huntsberger then called for a tow truck from roadside assistance before heading back home at 2:30 a.m, while Jones waited for help to arrive.
“When I left him (at 2:30 a.m) he was sitting in his car calling roadside assistance,” said Huntsberger. “I never would have thought that someone was going to come kill him,” rued the bassist.
Around 45 minutes later, Jones was shot dead.
Huntsberger refuses to believe that Jones “was armed,” as mentioned in the Police statement. “They’re (the police) saying he was armed, but I don’t know if I believe it,” said Huntsberger, who described Jones as a mellow, church-going guy. “Of course they’re going to say that. If I was there, maybe it’s a different situation. I just don’t know what happened.”
Benjamin Dixon, another close friend of Jones, told The News, “When Corey wasn’t playing the drums for me, he was right down the street at his family’s church every single Sunday. He was a church musician… a church man. He was the most laid back, easy going guy I’ve ever worked with.”
According to an obituary posted on Sun-Sentinel, “Jones was a drummer and played in church and with several bands. Jones’ family is well known in Boynton Beach, partly due to their community service with the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach where Jones’ grandfather, Sylvester Banks, is a pastor.”
On Monday evening, Jones’ family members held a prayer vigil at their church in Boynton Beach. Apostle Tommy Brown led the group in prayer. “We ask you Lord God to help. We ask you not only to help, but to heal. And we ask you not only to heal, but to vindicate,” he said.