Friday, November 21, 2014

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Bratton: Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting an Accident

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New York City Police Department Commissioner William Bratton says an officer-involved shooting that killed a man inside a public housing building in Brooklyn Thursday night appears to be accidental.

It happened around 11 p.m. at the Louis Heaton Pink Houses in East New York.

Bratton says two officers were patrolling a building when they reached what he described as a dimly lit stairwell and encountered an unarmed 28-year-old man identified as Akai Gurley of Brooklyn.

Bratton says officer Peter Liang then reached for his gun and opened fire accidentally, hitting Gurley in the chest.

He was pronounced dead at Brookdale Hospital.

Officials at 1 Police Plaza called the shooting a terrible accident, and say lighting in NYCHA buildings needs improvement.

"The officers saw that there were no lights in the stairwell leading to the roof. For safety reasons, before entering the stairwell, police officer Liang drew his flashlight and weapon. The second officer did not draw his weapon, according to our preliminary investigation," Bratton said.

"I don't have to tell anyone that that there have been decades of disinvestment in NYCHA. And this is an uphill struggle. But clearly, getting lighting right is crucial both for the quality of life of residents and for safety," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Officer Liang has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on modified duty.

Officials say the extended patrol at the Pink Houses is part of a violence reduction program because the development has seen a series of violent crimes, including two homicides this year. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP