An off-duty NYPD officer fatally shot 37-year-old Delrawn Small Dempsey during a road rage fight in East New York just after midnight Monday, CBS reports. According to police officials, Dempsey was punching officer Wayne Isaacs through an open car window when the officer fired his service weapon.
Dempsey and Isaacs were driving east on Atlantic Avenue when Dempsey exited his car at a red light and and approached Isaacs’ window and confronted him, police said. According to a witness and a state assemblyman who spoke with Dempsey’s family, Dempsey may have been angered because Isaacs cut him off while driving. (Dempsey is also refered to as Delrawn Small and Delrawn Smalls in various news accounts.)
Isaacs, whose name was not initially released, was traveling home from his shift as the altercation began, the New York Daily News reports. Dempsey was driving to a party with his girlfriend, baby, and niece, his family said. Isaacs shot Dempsey twice in the torso, killing him, according to the News.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an investigation into Dempsey’s shooting, and police say they are investigating internally as well. According to DNAinfo, Isaacs has been reassigned to a nearby precinct.
The News notes that Small/Dempsey has a rap sheet that includes an assault charge, and that Isaacs was implicated in a lawsuit for his role in an arrest in which a man was allegedly “punched, kicked and struck several times in the head and body” and called “nigger.” The city settled the lawsuit, paying out $20,000.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters it was “too early... to draw conclusions” about the nature of the shooting.