MIAMI (AP) — A recently dismissed police officer in South Florida who fatally shot an armed man waiting next to his disabled SUV has been fired from his job as a college instructor, the school disclosed Friday.
Palm Beach State College spokeswoman Grace Truman said in a statement that Nouman Raja was released from his adjunct teaching assignment Thursday because he is no longer a police officer.
"As Nouman Raja is no longer affiliated with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, he does not meet the minimum requirement for teaching set forth by the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission," Truman said in an email.
The city of Palm Beach Gardens fired Raja as an officer Wednesday. City spokeswoman Candice Temple said in a release that Raja was hired in April and was still on probation when the shooting occurred.
Raja was on duty but not in uniform and driving an unmarked van when he approached Corey Jones in the early morning hours of Oct. 18, authorities said. Jones, a musician who performed with local bands, had just left a gig when his vehicle broke down. A fellow band member tried unsuccessfully to jumpstart the SUV, then left Jones to await a tow truck along a dark ramp on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach Gardens, an affluent city north of West Palm Beach.
At the time, Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp said Raja had been investigating local burglaries, stopped to check out what he thought was an abandoned vehicle and "was suddenly confronted by an armed subject."
Raja fired six shots at Jones, hitting him three times, officials said. Police said they recovered a .380-caliber gun handgun, which Jones had bought a week earlier.
Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association President John Kazanjian said he's disappointed that city officials fired Raja before getting all the facts. The union president said the PBA will continue representing Raja and do everything it can to get his job back.
Jones' family has released a statement through their attorneys, saying they're pleased with Raja's firing but also want him to be held criminally liable for the shooting.