‘Nervous’ NYPD Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Man Akai Gurley in Brooklyn Project
A rookie New York Police Department officer shot and killed an unarmed man in a Brooklyn housing project late Thursday night in what the shooter allegedly told colleagues was an “accident.”
The New York Daily News reports the incident occurred around 11:15 pm at the Louis H. Pink Houses in the 2700 block of Linden Blvd. in Brooklyn.
Akai Gurley, 28, had entered a dimly lit stairwell on the seventh floor with his girlfriend, 27-year-old Melissa Butler. Two rookie NYPD housing officers, identified by the New York Post as Peter Liang and Shaun Landau, were conducting a vertical patrol in the building. A police source told theDaily News that Liang was “nervous.”
Liang “heard a noise,” the police source said. “It was dark. He must have been nervous.”
The rookie officer fired a shot, sending the terrified couple running down the stairs. They made it to the fifth floor before Gurley collapsed in a pool of blood. He had been shot in the chest.
“They didn’t identify themselves,” Butler told the Daily News. “No nothing. They didn’t give no explanation. They just pulled a gun and shot him in the chest.”
Butler says she was left to watch her boyfriend die in the darkened stairwell. She accuses the officers of refusing to assist the dying man. Medical help was only summoned after Butler banged on a neighbor’s door for help.
Gurley died at Brookdale University Hospital shortly after arriving by ambulance, police said.
Liang allegedly told colleagues the shooting was a mistake.
“I shot him accidentally,” the rookie said, according to the police source.
Butler doesn’t understand why the officer killed her unarmed boyfriend.
“They didn’t present themselves or nothing and shot him,” she toldDNAinfo. “As soon as he came in, the police opened the [door to the] eighth-floor staircase. They didn’t identify themselves at all. They just shot.”
The incident was reminiscent of the fatal 2004 shooting of Timothy Stansbury Jr., an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by an NYPD officer as he exited the stairwell of a housing project in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
The Associated Press reports Gurley has a 2-year-old daughter.