A rookie NYPD officer reportedly shot and killed an unarmed man in Brooklyn last night.
Both the New York Post and the New York Daily News report that an unidentified NYPD officer killed 28-year-old Akai Gurley in the stairwell of the Pink Houses, a housing project in East New York, at about 11:15 pm Thursday night. Police sources told both papers that Gurley was unarmed.
Gurley and his girlfriend were reportedly walking in the building's stairwell when they encountered two NYPD officers on patrol, one of whom shot Gurley once in the chest.
"They didn't give no explanation," she added. "They didn't identify themselves. They just started shooting."
From the Daily News:
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 Butler 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."
Butler also said lighting in the stairwell was a problem as did a neighbor, who told the Post "with that door closed, you can't even see in the staircase."
Gurley and Butler made it down two flights of stairs before Gurley lost consciousness. He was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Both officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital and treated for tinnitus. The NYPD is scheduled to hold a press conference about the shooting Friday morning.
UPDATE 12:56 pm: At a press conference this afternoon, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says a "coincidence of events" led to the shooting, which he described as "tragic," and that the officer's gun may have accidentally discharged—he had "no intention of striking anyone." The officer was reportedly on "probationary status" and had only been on the job for 18 months. He reportedly drew his weapon upon entering the stairwell, which was completely dark.
— Nicholas Rizzi (@nickr15) November 21, 2014
— DNAinfo.com New York (@DNAinfo) November 21, 2014
Officer Liang, who was on the job less than 18 months, and his partner werepatrolling the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York when they encountered Mr. Gurley inside a nearly pitch-black stairwell shortly before midnight, Mr. Bratton said.
Officer Liang drew his flashlight and his gun as he entered the stairwell on the eighth floor.
At the same time, Mr. Gurley and his girlfriend had just entered the stairwell on the seventh floor.
"One officer discharged one round from his service weapon, striking the male in the chest," according to a statement from the police.
Liang has been relieved of his badge and gun, and has been placed on modified assignment.