Phone call to roadside assistance captures Cory Jones’ last moments before he was shot dead

A black drummer and public housing inspector killed by a plainclothes police officer was on the phone with AT&T’s roadside assistance – a call that was possibly recorded – when he was confronted by the cop in Florida last week.

Corey Jones, 31, was shot three times by Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja, 38, near his broken down vehicle on Interstate 95 on October 18.

A copy of Jones’ phone records show that the 31-year-old called the recorded roadside assistance line, #HELP, at 3.10am, just five minutes before he was killed – but the call lasted 53 minutes.

Since AT&T records some phone calls to the helpline, the moments before and after Jones’ death might have been captured by the phone company.

Corey Jones, 31, was shot three times by plainclothes Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja on October 18

A recording would be critical piece of evidence, as no video recordings exist; Raja’s van didn’t have a dashboard camera and the department’s officers do not wear body cameras.

It is still unclear, however, if the call was recorded or if investigators had obtained any recordings, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Jones’ phone was recovered from the scene after the shooting, but it has not been returned to family members.

Clarence Ellington, Jones’ best friend, told the Palm Beach Post that Jones’ family has seen the phone records.

‘The consensus is the same, and that’s that we’re angry,’ Ellington said.

Jones used a phone that belonged to his employer, the Delray Beach Housing Authority, a government agency.

Call records show that Jones made several calls the night of his death, after his car broke down while driving back from a gig in Jupiter.

At 1.21am, Jones called Manoucheka Sinmelus, telling her that he was on his way to pick her up from her home in Delray Beach. He didn’t mention car trouble in the seven-minute phone call, Sinmelus said.

The first indication of car trouble was at 1.35am, when he called bandmate Mathew Huntsberger for help.

Nine minutes later, he called the Florida Highway Patrol’s main line, *FHP – a call that lasted four minutes.

At 2.09am, Jones called #HELP four times, spending about 36 minutes trying to get help.

Again at 2.45am he called #HELP, logging 32 minutes with the line, though he dialed three other numbers after that call began.

The last call to #HELP went out at 3.10am and ended at 4.03am. Jones was shot at 3.15am.

Corey Jones had five wounds — some of them exit wounds — and one shot broke his arm and another entered through Jones’ side and lodged in his upper body, his lawyers said after meeting with the state attorney who is investigating the fatal shooting.

He was shot after Raja, who stopped his unmarked van to check on what he thought was an abandoned vehicle and was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject,” police chief Stephen Stepp has said.

Raja wasn’t in uniform and didn’t have his badge when he stepped out of the white van, according to Jones’ family lawyers.

Police said Raja saw Jones’ gun and fired. Jones’ body was found 80 to 100 feet away from his vehicle.

Investigators recovered a handgun on the ground, Stepp said, and records indicated Jones purchased the weapon legally three days earlier. Crump said Jones had a concealed carry permit.

Jones never shot his gun, according to his family lawyers.

The incident has garnered national attention, and many experts and members of the public have questioned by Raja confronted Jones, who may not have known Raja was a police officer.

Jones’ family is hoping the phone calls provide insight as to what happened the night of the shooting.

Two phone records show that calls overlap with other calls.

At 2.29am, he spent 16 minutes on the phone with #HELP, but eight minutes after the call began, he called another number.

At 2.45am, he again called #HELP – a phone call that lasted 32 minutes. But seven minutes after the call started, he called his brother.

Edward J. Imwinkelried, an expert in scientific evidence and law professor at The University of California-Davis, told the Palm Beach Past that he believed investigators should focus on the overlapping calls.

‘If I was the investigator on the case, I would want to see how that is possible,’ he said.

The most probable explanation is that Jones made the calls while on hold with roadside assistance, Imwinkelried, said.

Jones, a graduate of the University of Akron with degrees in business administration and music, was passionate about drumming and organized monthly jam sessions where dozens of musicians from all over South Florida would come to the Bible Church of God and play gospel music – and sometimes a little R&B – well into the night. He was a quiet, laid back man who also enjoyed fishing, relatives said.

By day, he worked as a public housing inspector and also mentored at My Brother’s Keeper, an organization for black youth, according to his LinkedIn page.

Violence is a rarity in Palm Beach Gardens, a well-to-do community known as the home to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

According to the FBI, there was only one homicide last year in the city, where 89 percent of residents are white and have a median income far above the Florida average, according to the U.S. Census.

Jones lived in Lake Worth, south of Palm Beach Gardens.

Raja didn’t have any disciplinary actions or complaints since joining the Palm Gardens force in April, according to records. He previously worked seven years at the Atlantis Police Department, another small city in Palm Beach County.

Source: The DailyMail

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