911 Recording in Corey Jones police shooting released; ‘I just shot one person,’ Officer Says – Darfoor Law Skip to content

911 Recording in Corey Jones police shooting released; ‘I just shot one person,’ Officer Says

As the 911 call begins, then-Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Nouman Raja yells an expletive and is heard screaming for a man to drop the “gun right now!”

With Wednesday’s release of Raja’s 911 call, it’s the first time his voice is heard in a recording from the night he shot and killed stranded motorist Corey Jones, 31.

Palm Beach Gardens police released the recording from Oct. 18 in response to a nearly nine-month-old records request from the news media, allowing the public to hear the real-time conversation between Raja and the 911 operator.

During his 911 call, Raja must have known Jones had already dropped his gun, according to prosecutors. Raja phoned 911 about 33 seconds after the officer fired his final shot. And prosecutors said there’s sufficient evidence to conclude Raja had kept discharging his firearm at Jones after realizing Jones no longer had a gun.

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Raja is on house arrest on a $250,000 bond after being charged last month with manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. A grand jury that examined the evidence — and may have heard the 911 call — found the use of force was unjustified.

911 recording in Corey Jones police shooting released; ‘I just shot one person,’ officer says
Near the start of the call from his personal cellphone, Raja reported he “got one down. I just shot one person.” He also said he was calling from an Interstate 95 southbound off ramp where he had parked his unmarked van before approaching Jones.

“Are you all right?” the male dispatcher asks.

“Yeah man, I’m good, I’m good,” replies Raja, who then about 27 seconds into the recording suddenly again yells, “drop the g…”

“Get me some units, I’ve lost contact with him, I don’t know where he is,” said Raja, who was not wearing his uniform. That night the officer had been assigned to patrol parking lots in response to vehicle burglaries.

Officer who shot Corey Jones should have worn police vest to ID himself, co-workers say

Officer who shot Corey Jones should have worn police vest to ID himself, co-workers say

Evidence in the Nouman Raja case was released Tuesday by prosecutors

Prosecutors release recording of Corey Jones’ final words in police shooting

“Alright, you got it buddy,” the operator answered.

Throughout the call, the unidentified operator repeatedly called Raja “buddy” while giving him instructions and asking for a description of the man he had just shot.

“Black male wearing all black, dreads, had a silver handgun in his right hand. I came out, I saw him come out with a handgun. I gave him commands. I identified myself and he turned, pointed the gun at me and started running. I shot him,” Raja said, before walking back to the van where he had left his police radio.

The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, which fired the 38-year-old officer less than a month after he killed Jones, noted that before releasing the 911 call, it consulted with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.

It also said it edited out a portion of the call where Raja identified himself to the operator, because of the state’s public records law.

A second 911 recording also was released Wednesday. A female staying at the nearby DoubleTree hotel reported hearing gunshots outside her window.

“There’s a guy walking backwards, holding a gun,” the woman said, later adding that it was difficult to see because of trees blocking her view. The call ends with sirens as police arrive at the scene.

Attorneys for the family of Jones, a musician whose SUV had broken down on the way back home from a band performance, said in a statement the recordings don’t tell the story of what actually happened to their beloved son and brother from Boynton Beach.

The family points to a different recording called key to Raja’s prosecution: Jones’ cellphone call to roadside assistance during the 3:15 a.m. shooting.

Prosecutors have not yet released that recording, but they have described its contents and said it helps prove Jones’ death resulted from Raja’s “culpably negligent actions.”

In their report, investigators wrote that Raja did not identify himself as a police officer and he kept shooting, even after a “frightened” Jones ran away and longer held his licensed .380-caliber handgun. Jones’ gun was not fired.

“The release of today’s 911 tapes by Officer Raja and an unidentified witness, further proves that Raja’s narrative of what occurred on the early morning hours of October 18th is inconsistent with the objective evidence,” attorneys Daryl Parks, Benjamin Crump, Kweku Darfoor and Skinner Louis wrote in a news release.

Representing Jones’ estate and his father, Clinton Jones Sr., the attorneys on Wednesday filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Raja and the city of Palm Beach Gardens.

The claim for unspecified financial damages came less than two hours after the release of the 911 recordings. The lawsuit does not cite Raja’s 911 call, but it quotes the roadside assistance call transcript provided by prosecutors and contends Jones was “peacefully” waiting in his SUV and “posed no reasonable threat of physical harm” to the officer.

Jones “was not in the commission of any crime, and was in need of protection as he was stranded on the side of the I-95 with a disabled vehicle, when Defendant Raja shot him multiple times killing him. The use of force was unreasonable and clearly excessive,” the lawsuit states.

Richard Lubin, lead attorney for Raja, declined to comment Wednesday about the 911 recording.

Palm Beach County’s police union, which is helping to defend Raja, supports Raja’s statements in the 911 call about identifying himself as a cop.

After Raja was arrested and charged, the union said: “it is upsetting that a police officer — met by a subject who points a firearm at him — is not legally allowed to defend himself while in fear for his life.”

Raja has pleaded not guilty. His next court date is July 14.

Staff writer Adam Sacasa contributed to this report. mfreeman@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6642 or Twitter @MarcJFreeman

SOURCE: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-palm-beach-gardens-nouman-raja-911-audio-20160706-story.html

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