Former Florida police officer convicted in shooting death of stranded motorist

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A jury found a former South Florida police officer guilty on Thursday in the fatal shooting of a motorist whose vehicle had broken down.

Nouman Raja was working for the Palm Beach Gardens police when he shot and killed Corey Jones, 31, on October 18, 2015. He was convicted on two counts — manslaughter while armed with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder — in Palm Beach County court. He’ll be sentenced April 26.

Jones was a drummer who had just played a gig and was heading home when his car broke down around midnight. Jones had called for a tow truck after making several calls to a roadside assistance service, according to Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family.

Around 3 a.m., Raja — who was on duty but was wearing civilian clothing and driving an unmarked car — pulled up to check out what he thought was an abandoned vehicle, Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp said in November 2015.

Jones had a gun, and a confrontation ensued, with Raja shooting Jones, Stepp said.

Jones, who was black, possessed his gun legally and had a concealed carry permit, Crump said. He never fired his weapon, the attorney added. Raja, who is Indian-American, fired six times, hitting Jones three times, according to Crump.

Jones’ death is one of a series of controversial police shootings that have sparked protests nationwide and raised questions about race and policing.

This is a developing story.

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