PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - UPDATE: Palm Beach County Fire Rescue determined Friday the fire at the Corey Jones roadside memorial was accidental.
"The fire may have started from a knocked over candle at the memorial site. Items around the site were burned but the fire never spread outside of a 3 foot radius," a report from Fire Rescue stated.
Four months to the day after Corey Jones was shot to death by former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, his family found the roadside memorial where he was killed burned to ashes. They're hoping someone saw what actually happened.
“When you came here and you saw this what was your first instinct?” asked NewsChannel Five's Jared Werksma.
“Who did it?” answered CJ Jones, Corey's Brother.
“So you do think somebody did this?” asked Werksma.
“I know we didn't do it,” Jones said.
CJ says the thought that someone may have intentionally burned the memorial breaks his heart - especially after a long night of sitting around the memorial remembering his brother.
“There was at least seven of us last night. We came out at about 2 o'clock. We came out here we had some music, we set out here. We doing this every month man, until I die,” said Jones.
He says when they left Corey's memorial just before 8 a.m. Thursday everything was fine. Then he got a call from a family friend.
“I was passing by (the memorial) and as I passed the site is when I actually saw fire off to my right,” said John Slocum, who owns a dash camera and body camera business. He has one of those cameras mounted in his car which caught images of three to four foot flames rising from the memorial as he drove by.
The time stamp on the video says 11:31 a.m. The next thing the video shows is a Palm Beach Gardens police cruiser with lights and sirens heading towards the fire.
“As he made the turn he popped his trunk and pulled out a fire extinguisher immediately,” said Slocum.
By the time C.J. got to his brother's memorial only ashes and a few charred teddy bears remained. He doesn't believe candles did it on their own.
“The teddy bears was wet. Everything was wet like it was raining already,” said Jones.
“Is there any reason that you think somebody would want to burn this?” Werksma asked.
“Man, I can't even answer that question man,” Jones said.
We have requested all records, video and phone calls related the fire.
Palm Beach Gardens Police tell us they have no reason to believe it was deliberate at this point.
C.J. Jones says he and his family plan to rebuild his brothers memorial in the coming days.