The results after the official investigation:According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, a West Palm Beach man, identified as 38-year-old Cleveland Anthony Murdock, felt he was forced to defend himself when a man consumed with road rage attacked him on the street.
BSO Homicide Detectives say a black Toyota Tacoma driven by Murdock was behind a white Honda Civic as they travelled Westbound on Northwest 33rd Street. Both vehicles approached a stop sign, and according to witnesses, the passenger in the Civic, 33-year-old Patrick Lavoie, jumped out of the car he was travelling in and confronted Murdock.
Witnesses told deputies Lavoie tried to open the door of the Tacoma and was seen reaching in through the driver's side window.
The two were allegedly arguing because Murdock was driving too close to the other vehicle, driven by Lavoie's girlfriend.
Fearing for his life, detectives say Murdock took out his weapon and shot Lavoie, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
As a side note, it would appear that the man fatally shot had a history of road rage:Investigators detained Murdock for hours, while they compared his story about fearing for his life to eyewitness accounts. Then they told him he was free to go.
Sheriff's Office officials say they plan to forward the case to Broward prosecutors for review. If homicide prosecutors examine the case and feel they should present it to a grand jury, they will do so, said Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward State Attorney's Office.
Regardless of this last bit of info, there truly is no way for Murdock to have known of this man's past. I'd hate to be in Murdock's position and it is sad that someone had to lose their life over such a stupid and otherwise avoidable incident, but I feel he got what he deserved.CHECKERED PAST
Lavoie himself had a checkered driving history.
In December 2008, he was issued a traffic ticket for the very issue that fueled his fight with Murdock -- following another vehicle too closely.
He was scheduled for an April 2011 court hearing following a February 2009 arrest by Coral Springs police on charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and damaging property under the influence.
STRING OF INCIDENTS
Wednesday's case of road rage gone awry is the latest in a string of recent violent incidents involving South Florida drivers, including a 16-year-old Weston girl being punched in the face by a man after reportedly pulling in front of his Jeep in April.
University of Hawaii psychology professor Leon James, who has studied road rage for two decades, said that while some drivers don't hang on to their anger, others ruminate on what happened and get angrier each passing moment.
``There is a lack of mental intelligence at that point because they begin to reason the wrong way,'' James said. ``They begin to not notice reality.''
His advice: steer clear of provoking a physical confrontation.
``You don't know the mental state of that motorist,'' James said.
``You put yourself at great risk.''