UPDATE 3:05 PM EST
Peter Liang has been identified as the police officer who fatally shot Akai Gurley. The rookie was on the force for 18 months when he was given the assignment of vertically monitoring the staircases in the East New York housing project.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says the shooting was a “coincidence of events” that led to Gurley’s death.
Bratton included that Liang’s gun may have discharged by accident since the officer had “no intentions of striking anyone.”
Liang, who was already on probation has been stripped of his badge and gun, and placed on a modified assignment.
According to the New York Daily News, Akai Gurley was leaving his girlfriend’s apartment in the Louis Pink Houses on Linden Blvd. when he was shot in the chest by a police officer late Thursday evening. There were two officers present during the shooting. The unknown officers were doing a routine vertical check of the building when they came into contact with the victim. Gurley was pronounced dead at Brookdale University Hospital.
“He didn’t do nothing wrong,” the girlfriend said. “He was just standing there and they shot him. He was an innocent man.”
The NYPD said in a press release that two uniformed officers were on a vertical patrol in the building about 11:15 p.m. Thursday. They entered the stairwell from the eighth floor and were descending it. Gurley and his girlfriend entered the stairwell from the seventh floor, she said. Police said that one of the officers fired a single shot, but further information was not provided. It was not clear why the officer fired, and a police source said Gurley was not armed.
The NYPD press release described the stairwell as “dimly lit.”
His girlfriend says the lighting in the staircase may have been a factor in the shooting, but it doesn’t explain why Gurley was killed since he didn’t pose a threat:
“They didn’t give no explanation,” she said of the cops. “They didn’t identify themselves. They just started shooting.”
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is expected to release more information about the shooting and the officers during a press conference at a later date.
SOURCE: NY Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty