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Florida officer who killed church drummer Corey Jones is fired

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Palm Beach Gardens Officer Nouman Raja, who had been placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting death of a black man near his broken-down vehicle on Interstate 95 in Florida, has been fired.

Questions surround killing of Florida musician by plainclothes cop

"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," a statement from the police department on Thursday read. "The independent criminal investigation into the Officer-Involved Shooting that occurred on October 18, 2015 is ongoing and the City will continue to cooperate with all agencies involved."

Corey Jones, 31, was shot to death in October by 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.

Details of exactly what happened have not been released by police. Raja's van didn't have a dashboard camera and the department's officers do not wear body cameras, Stepp previously said.

CBS News' David Begnaud reports that John Kazanjian of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent association said, "we are disappointed," after hearing of Raja's termination.

Jones' family also released a statement in regards to the termination.

"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," the statement read. "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," the statement continued.

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A mourner cries at the funeral for Corey Jones at the Payne Chapel AME of West Palm Beach, Florida October 31, 2015.Jones was shot and killed by a plainclothes police officer after his car broke down on a highway exit ramp on October 18. Mike Stocker/Pool/Reuters

Begnaud reports that the chief and assistant chief went to Raja's home Thursday morning to let him know about the termination.

Jones was a musician who performed with local bands and had just left a gig early Sunday when his car broke down. A fellow band member tried unsuccessfully to jumpstart the car, then left Jones to await a tow truck along a dark ramp on I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens, an affluent city north of West Palm Beach.

Raja fired six shots and hit Jones three times, family attorney Benjamin Crump told reporters previously.

Jones' family said he may have thought he had to defend himself when Raja approached.

Jones was running away at some point, but there's no evidence he was shot in the back, Crump said. His body was found 80 to 100 feet from his car.

Florida cop who killed musician says he was confronted with gun

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 had the gun because he had expensive drums and other equipment, Crump said.

Jones' brother Clinton Jones Jr. during a rally in October said his brother would "not ever, ever, ever pull a gun on a policeman. Never."

"All lives matter. This is not a black thing," he said before introducing his wife, who is white. "We don't see color. ... No disrespect to 'black lives matter,' all lives matter."

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

Raja, 38, 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.

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