BROOKLYN — A man who called himself the "Grim Reaper" fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, then called her relatives to tell them to "find an undertaker" — before being shot dead in a gunbattle with police, according to officials and the woman's family.
Dalton Branch, 51, killed Patricia Mohammed, 55, and fired at her coworkers and a man he believed to be her new boyfriend outside a Queens casino Tuesday morning, sources said.
When his first round of bullets missed his target, sending the crowd scattering for cover, Branch got out of his vehicle and pursued Mohammed on foot, firing four shots at point-blank range into her car as she tried to hide inside, sources said.
A half-hour later, Branch called Mohammed's relatives to taunt them and call himself 'The Grim Reaper,' police officials said.
"He told me I should prepare to bury my niece," said Mohammed's aunt, Rosemarie Guilford, 75. "He said, 'I got her good. Get your clothes together and find an undertaker because I got her."
Police said after Branch shot Mohammed, he got back in his car and drove around the lot in search of the man he believed to be her new flame. That man, who later told police he was just a former coworker of Mohammed's, ducked and weaved between cars as Branch opened fire at him before zooming away from the scene.
The coworker was not hit, police say.
Investigators eventually tracked Branch to East New York at the corner of Pennsylvania and Stanley avenues about 5:30 a.m., officials said.
As three NYPD officers approached, Branch opened fire on them with a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun, officials said.
"They rolled up on this vehicle to make an apprehension and they were immediately fired upon by this individual," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Tuesday.
Police returned fire and hit Branch, officials said. Branch was pronounced dead at Brookdale Hospital, officials said.
Police recovered his gun at the scene along with ammunition and a cellphone, Boyce said.
Family said that Branch had been an overbearing boyfriend when he dated Mohammed last year.
"They broke up. He seemed like a jealous, controlling person. If she'd go somewhere, he wanted to be there," said the woman's uncle, Tony Mohammed, 81.
"He was a very brutal type of guy," said Guilford said. "I always warned her and told her he wasn't the kind of person she should be hanging out with, but for some reason he had this hold on her,"
Mohammed broke up with Branch after a conflict over health issues, Guilford said.
"He stayed away for a while. We thought he would get over her and leave it alone, but he didn't," Guilford said.
Mohammed, who is survived by a daughter in New Orleans, was remembered as loving and always eager to cook.
"She was a beautiful human being. Everybody loves her. She loved people. She's generous. She's everything," said Guilford, crying.
"She was happy-go-lucky," her uncle said.
Relatives said they were deeply saddened by Mohammed's murder, but got some small satisfaction from her killer's death.
"It doesn't bring her back, but at least I know he's no longer around," Guilford said.