NEW YORK, July 4 (UPI) — An off-duty New York City police officer shot and killed an unarmed man Monday morning after he was punched twice by a fellow driver in an apparent road rage, police said.
An unidentified three-year veteran, 37, assigned to the 79th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, got into a fight with Delron “Smalls” Dempsey, also 37, of Jersey CIty, about 12:15 a.m., police said.
Dempsey got out of his silver Kia, approached the cop’s car and punched him through an open window as the officer remained seated, police said.
After being struck in the face and head, the cop fired three times, striking Dempsey at least once in the chest, police said.
The officer was treated for multiple facial injuries at Jamaica Hospital.
Dempsey was traveling to a fireworks display with his wife and two kids when the deadly incident occurred, his brother told reporters shortly.
“His wife was in the car with him, his two kids was with him,” Victor Dempsey told CBS 2 New York. “They were going to see fireworks up by whatever park is in the neighborhood.”
“It has to stop. It’s not right that they just get a gun and a badge and they can do what they want to do,” Victor Dempsey continued.
Dempsey’s family members, their lawyer Roger Wareham and New York City Councilman Charles Barron appeared at the scene later Monday morning for a news conference.
“He could have rolled up his window, he could have driven away,” Wareham said. “He did not have to shoot him.”
The New York State Attorney General’s Office said it is reviewing the case.
“Members of the Attorney Genera’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit are in contact with the NYPD, the victim’s family, and community leaders. SIPU has a search warrant for the officer’s car and is actively reviewing the case,” Eric Soufer, spokesman for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in a statement.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday afternoon at a news conference that the cop was likely headed home after finishing his shift. Police believe he used his service weapon in the shooting.
“It’s much, much too early to draw any conclusions at this time,” Bratton said. “It is a protocol that our Force Investigation Division will do a very comprehensive initial investigation. We’re gathering a lot of video from the area, cameras that we were able to identify. We have talked with the officer.”