BROOKLYN — The off-duty NYPD officer who shot and killed an unarmed Brooklyn man believed he was being carjacked when he was punched as he sat in his car and did not know he was involved in a road-rage incident, sources told DNAinfo New York.
Officer Wayne Isaacs told close friends that he was stopped at a red light at Atlantic Avenue and Bradford Street as he was headed home early Monday morning after work at the 79th Precinct when he was suddenly pummeled in the driver's seat.
He was unaware that his attacker was another motorist, Delrawn Small, who was apparently seething over a perceived near-collision with him, sources said. Small had been two cars behind Isaacs when he rushed up and pounced, repeatedly punching the off-duty officer in the face through Isaacs' open driver’s side window, the sources said.
“He had no idea that he was involved in, or about to be involved in, a road-rage incident,” said a source close to the three-year NYPD officer who has more than 100 arrests under his belt.
“He was stunned, shocked, surprised,” another source said.
Isaacs told the friends he felt trapped by his seatbelt as Small struck. He said he managed to get his gun out from under his T-shirt, and fired, striking Small twice.
According to police officials, video surveillance footage shows Small, 37, attacking Isaacs in his car, an account that counters allegations he exited his vehicle before shooting Smalls.
The video also shows Small's girlfriend, who was with Small and children in his car, trying to prevent him from racing toward Isaacs' car, sources said. She told investigators she tried to stop Small from going after Isaacs, and that he had had a few drinks before the encounter.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the shooting, as mandated by an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015. Isaacs has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Small had a lengthy criminal record including 19 prior arrests, and served three sentences behind bars for separate felony convictions for attempted robbery, drug dealing and assault. His family members have lashed out at Isaacs, insisting that he did not have to shoot an unarmed man, regardless of the circumstances. On Wednesday, more than 100 people gathered in East New York to mourn Small's death and protest the NYPD.