NYPD says fatal shooting was an ‘accident’

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Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

A fatal shooting in Brooklyn involving the NYPD and an unarmed man has been deemed an “accident” by the NYPD.

Reports from the AP say Akai Gurley, 28, was exiting his girlfriend’s apartment in the public housing complex known as the Louis Pink Houses around 11 p.m. Thursday night.

Rookie NYPD officers Peter Liang and Shaun Landau were performing a “vertical patrol,” which requires the officers to conduct floor-by-floor sweeps, within the complex at the time.

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Liang and Landau reportedly came into contact with Gurley in a dark stairwell of the complex.  Liang had his weapon unholstered and his flashlight out to illuminate the stairwell prior to coming into contact with Gurley.  Once the officers saw Gurley in the stairwell, Gurley was shot in the chest, and he was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a press conference, according to the LA Times, the shooting was an “unfortunate accident,” and Gurley was “innocent.”

“It appears to be an accidental discharge, with no intention to strike anybody,” said Bratton in the press conference.  Bratton said Gurley was not taking part in any aggressive or illegal activity, and he was simply “trying to walk down the stairwell,” when he was shot.  

Gurley’s girlfriend Melissa Butler, 27, told DNA Info, the officers “didn’t present themselves or nothing and shot him. They didn’t identify themselves at all. They just shot.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the death of Gurley a “tragic accident,” adding, “There’s going to be a full investigation to say the least.”

As of now, Liang has been put on desk duty until the investigation is complete.

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