Court docs: Road rage incident preceded argument with ethnic overtones, deadly shooting

Scene of shooting on Feb. 16, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A case of road rage that began on I-465 led to a fatal confrontation with ethnic overtones, police say.

Court documents provide some insight—but differing accounts—into the Saturday night shooting that killed 32-year-old Mustafa Ayoubi on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Officers were dispatched just after 8 p.m. to investigate a reported shooting in the 3900 block of Wind Drift Drive East.

Dustin Passarelli

Officers found Ayoubi lying in the parking lot; he was pronounced dead just before 8:40 p.m., court documents said. Police arrested 33-year-old Dustin Passarelli on a murder charge and said the shooting stemmed from road rage.

Homicide detectives interviewed Passarelli, who said he had left work and was in the middle lane heading southbound on I-465 on the west side. Another vehicle was in the left lane when a “car flew up behind” the other vehicle with the man behind the wheel “driving aggressively and honking his horn,” court documents said.

That car then got behind Passarelli’s vehicle and was again driving aggressively as they approached the 38th Street exit, according to Passarelli’s account. Passarelli said he heard a “bang on the passenger side of his car” and believed someone “threw something at his car or hit his car,” court documents said.

Passarelli said he then followed Ayoubi’s car onto west 38th Street; they circled McDonald’s twice before stopping at Wind Drift Drive East. He told investigators he “wanted to get the [insurance] info from the driver in case there was damage” to his car.

Friends of Ayoubi told police they were waiting for him to come home so they could play some pool. When he arrived, they heard arguing and saw Ayoubi standing by the side of a vehicle. Witnesses said the driver, Passarelli, was “cussing at Mr. Ayoubi and using religious and ethnic insults like, ‘Go back to your country,’” according to court documents.

But Passarelli offered a different account. He said Ayoubi made an anti-Semitic remark, prompting Passarelli to hurl back insults in return. Ayoubi then walked to the driver’s side of Passarelli’s car and punched the window twice, creating a crack, Passarelli told detectives. Passarelli said he then pulled his Glock from the right side of his seat and shot through the window about five times.

Witnesses said Passarelli shined a laser light in Ayoubi’s face before shooting at him, court documents said. Ayoubi tried to run away, witnesses said, and Passarelli shot him. Ayoubi, who was not armed, was shot twice in the back, according to the coroner’s office.

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