The Florida police officer who shot and killed local drummer Corey Jones has lost his job, Palm Beach Gardens city officials said Thursday.
Officer Nouman Raja, who had been on paid administrative leave since the deadly confrontation Oct. 18, was terminated Wednesday, city officials said in a statement.
"The City of Palm Beach Gardens has been cautiously and methodically considering the employment status of Officer Nouman Raja. Therefore, Officer Raja, a probationary employee with the City, has been terminated from employment effective Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 5:00 PM," the statement read.
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The attorney representing Raja declined to comment Thursday.
"I'm disappointed in the chief and his decision to terminate Raja," John Kazanjian, president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, said Thursday. "Nothing prompted this, we're surprised just like everybody else."
The family of Jones released a statement following the announcement:
"While we are pleased that the city of Palm Beach Gardens has terminated the employment of the officer who gunned down Corey Jones, we maintain that the officer in question also must be held criminally liable for his reckless actions that night. Our family remains hopeful that the outside agencies brought in to investigate Corey's killing will soon begin to yield factual information about how and why this officer acted so callously. Through all of the sorrow and pain that accompanied Corey's death, our family is encouraged by the multitude of well-wishers who have reached out to us during this difficult time. It is obvious that Corey touched many lives and for that we will be forever grateful."
Jones, 31, was driving on Interstate 95 when his vehicle broke down. Police said Raja was not in uniform and was driving an unmarked van when he stopped to investigate around 3:15 a.m.
According to the Palm Beach Gardens police chief, Jones, who was armed, suddenly confronted Raja. The officer fired six shots, striking Jones three times.
Jones' registered gun, purchased just a few days before the deadly confrontation, was never fired, according to the law firm representing his family.
"The only thing that remains unanswered is why this plainclothes cop in an unmarked van would have this encounter with Corey, who was waiting on the tow truck, and he ends up dead with three bullets in his body," attorney Benjamin Crump said in the days after Jones' death.
Officials said the criminal investigation into the fatal shooting is ongoing.
Meanwhile, a concert that was planned weeks ago to celebrate Jones' life took place Thursday night at the Faith Center in Sunrise. One of the artists participating was Jones' cousin, Tye Tribbett. Thousands of people attended.
"[Raja's firing] adds a whole new energy. When I woke up this morning I got the news, I was like what," Tribbett said. "It's just a sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel."
"If he got fired from his job, that's nice. But he should be behind bars," said Jones' grandfather, Sylvester Banks, Sr. "We want answers and we want the truth."