NY Hero Got “Nervous” – And Blew Away Innocent Man

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Panicked rookie NYPD officer fatally shoots unarmed 28-year-old man in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses project

The uniformed officer fired a single, fatal shot into Akai Gurley’s chest moments after he and his girlfriend entered a stairwell in the Pink Houses on Linden Blvd. in East New York on Thursday night, police said. Gurley was not armed, a police source said. ‘They just pulled a gun and shot him in the chest,’ Gurley’s girlfriend said.

Akai Gurley was accidentally shot and killed by a police officer in a Brooklyn building, cops said.FACEBOOKAkai Gurley was accidentally shot and killed by a police officer in a Brooklyn building, cops said.
A panicked rookie cop in a pitch-black housing project stairwell killed an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the chest as the officer fumbled around in the darkness with a flashlight and a handgun.

The fatal shooting, which officials described as a tragic accident, happened during a vertical patrol late Thursday — months after the superintendent of the Brooklyn development asked NYCHA to fix the stairwell lights.

But it wasn’t until Friday morning — hours after Akai Gurley was killed — that workers finally replaced the lights at the Pink Houses in Brooklyn.

The helpless girlfriend of 28-year-old Gurley, 28, recounted watching him die in a puddle of blood after the routine police patrol turned into a horror show.

“They need to pay for his funeral,” said Melissa Butler, 27. “They killed him. Ya’ll killed an innocent man.”

Gurley was gunned down when probationary Officer Peter Liang’s .9 mm accidentally discharged, with a bullet ricocheting off the wall and tearing into his chest, sources said.

A devastated Liang “was a crying mess,” a police source told the Daily News. “Breathing heavy. He was sitting on the floor for 45 minutes. He was a mess.”

His partner, in a version of Thursday night’s events echoed by Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, said the fatal shooting was a bizarre mistake.

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Gurley was shot between the seventh and eighth floors of a dimly lit stairwell during a vertical patrol in the Pink Houses. Liang clutched his Glock .9 mm in his left hand and a flashlight in his right when he entered the stairwell around 11:15 p.m. from the eighth floor.

Liang “heard a noise,” the police source told the News. “It was dark. He must have been nervous.”

Gurley and Butler, who had just finished braiding her boyfriend’s hair, only took the stairs because of a slow-moving elevator. They opened the seventh-floor stairwell door at about the same instant that Liang and his partner entered from one floor up.

Liang was upstairs from Gurley when his gun accidentally fired as he opened the door, his partner Officer Shaun Landau told investigators.

Akai Gurley was fatally shot after two uniformed officers encountered him in the stairwell between the seventh and eighth floors of the building.
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Akai Gurley was fatally shot after two uniformed officers encountered him in the stairwell between the seventh and eighth floors of the building.

But it was unclear if the left-handed Liang was holding the weapon in the same hand that he used to open the door. A mark on the stairwell wall indicates the bullet ricocheted before striking Gurley. it was the only bullet fired.

The wounded man actually ran for his life after hearing the gunshot, and didn’t realize he was bleeding until collapsing on the fifth floor.

“I shot him accidentally,” the devastated cop confessed to his colleagues. His partner Landau never pulled his weapon from its holster.

Bratton and de Blasio agreed the shooting was a terrible mistake — although Liang had yet to tell his story to police.

“What happened last night was a very unfortunate tragedy,” Bratton said Friday. “… It appears this may have been in fact an accidental discharge.”

Bratton, along with de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, visited Gurley’s family in Red Hook, Brooklyn, for about 10 minutes on Friday night. They didn’t speak to reporters, but Kirsten Foy, of the National Action Network, was inside the apartment during the meeting.

Foy said the city’s top cop, the mayor and McCray hugged and kissed Kimberly Michelle Ballinger, a woman identified as Gurley’s “common-law wife” and the mother of his 2-year-old daughter.

“They offered their apologies, condolences and support going forward so she was heartened by that…grateful,” Foy said. “It was a very human moment for them.”

Devastated gal pal Butler, with tears pouring down her face earlier Friday, said Liang blasted Gurley without identifying himself or even addressing the couple.

The only sound was the deafening echo of the gunshot in the stairwell at the Pink Houses.


  1. And then there’s the NYPD officer driving a police van and killing a pedestrian who was crossing with the “walk” signal. NYPD is defending the lawsuit by claiming that it was the pedestrian’s fault because he should have known that crossing the street is dangerous. I guess it is when a phero is driving a cop van and talking on a sail fawn, as was apparently the case here.

    Imagine if one of us mundanes did the same thing. We would no longer have any assets, but it wouldn’t matter because our means of support would be three hots and a cot at the graybar hotel for a lot of years.

    Here’s the article: http://www.streetsblog.org/2016/03/22/nypd-teacher-killed-by-cop-in-crosswalk-assumed-risk-by-crossing-street/

  2. Why is that we are the only ones wondering why the gun was not in the holster?

    Even by most police department rules, a cop wouldn’t even be allowed to shoot into somewhere he cannot see (into the dark) or into a crowd. He had no business having the gun drawn.

    • but Rich,

      He was scared. (The big baby)

      I would not be surprised if part of the official word is that “they followed police procedures” (or words to that effect).

      In all fairness, I probably would be at the very least concerned (and fearful) for my safety patrolling his beat. I do not know why he was walking around with weapon drawn.


      I can not give you a good reason why LEOs are held to a lesser standards than mere mundanes.

      • Dang, Mithrandir, I know I shouldn’t laugh about this subject, but this,
        “He was scared. (The big baby)”

        As the U.K. guys say: Spot On.

  3. What a tragic loss of life.

    Can anyone tell me why in the hell police are still allowed to carry firearms? They obviously can’t handle them.

    Let’s leave the carrying to guns to the private sector – a group of people I have far more confidence in than I do the police.

    • While I totally agree with your sentiment, Michael, I wonder this:

      Would the Power Elite use this notion of, to disarm the cops (seeing as how they have all these armed drones in the works as stand-in’s) as a reason, or lead-in, to disarm everyone?

      Myself, I “get” the whole disarm the cops bit. But, at the same time, it’s a lot like requiring labels which state whether a food is G.M.O. or not.

      ‘Support GMO labeling or turn the oil tanker around?’


      Should the cops be disarmed, or should the notion of “cops” be abolished?
      Maybe I can’t articulate this well enough?
      The focus is too much on disarming the cops as opposed to abolishing them outright.
      …But I guess only Baby Steps make sense in the short term for Mass-Man?
      [That’s not meant to belittle your position or to say you’re Mass-Man. ]
      It just seems to me that in the Big Picture, as much as it makes me throw up in the back of my mouth to write this: cops are just the same as everyone else. Lead the way to disarm them, is leading the way to disarm everyone.

      Again, I totally agree with your sentiment, Michael.
      Disarm, The State.
      Not, The People.

      • Since in the current climate we do not seem to be able to hold LEOs responsible for their actions, disarming them seems a good first step. Once the sheeple see they are no worse off, then we can move to disband them.

  4. Both officers were also taken to the hospital after the shooting to be treated for tinnitus. #keepcalmandpickthecotton

    Pink Housing Scene of the Murder

    CPerez @cjunknownjp
    BODY CAMERAS: The 75th Precinct in #Brooklyn is one of several chosen to test out a pilot program to have them…

    Artivist ‏@Barbd_Wyre 17 hours ago
    Call NYPD 75th precinct at (718) 827-3511 and request officer Peter Liang be arrested immediately for manslaughter.

    rap game lynn yaeger ‏@LLottT 5 hours ago
    NYPD is the worst gang in the world, every last one of them are scum. Especially Peter Liang.

    more posts; responses

    Peter Liang Intellius

    Peter Liang murderer – heavy.com

    HT Paul Farrell is Heavy’s breaking news editor. He’s from Ireland and lives in Brooklyn. Reach him at Paul@heavy.com.

    • The take home point here is that had any ordinary citizen done this, he’d be facing (rightly) multiple felony charges – from reckless discharge of a firearm to (minimally) aggravated manslaughter.

      Can anyone give me a sane reason why cops – of all people – are held to a lesser standard?

      • This was NOT an accidental shooting. The loaded gun was in his hand, and his finger was on the trigger. You don’t do that unless you INTEND to shoot.
        Police, if anything, should be held to a HIGHER standard than the citizens they are supposedly hired to protect.
        LEO – enforce yourself!
        Cops should be disarmed, like bobbies used to be.

        • He’s walking in darkened stairwell, gun out, finger in the trigger loop with a flashlight in his other hand. He’s already set the stage for an ‘accident’ by putting all these elements in place. It’s negligence from the outset. No negligence, no ‘accident’.

          Here’s where I can play reverse Clover with the drunk driving and gun comparisons. If some guy is doing 100mph in the rain on bald tires with a BAC of 0.19 is that an accident when he plows into someone and kills? Of course not, it’s negligence and he’s held accountable for it. There’s even cloverian laws to punish this guy even if he arrives home without harming anyone. So why under this ‘risk’ principle is a cop not even punished for simply patrolling in this manner? (note, this is just an argument of showing the state’s inconsistency only)

          Another riddle here, why are cops permitted to have emotions like ‘fear’ and ‘nervousness’ yet a mundane that has those is considered guilty of something?

          • Exactly, Brent.

            Especially as regards “fear” and “nervousness.” These days especially. It is entirely reasonable, is it not, to fear what might happen when a cop pulls you over or stops you in the street? Every day – literally, every day – I find examples of Clover’s “nice policeman” horribly abusing people, from completely unjustified beat-downs and arrests to outright summary execution in the street.

            But we’re not allowed to fear for our “safety.” Just try presenting that as an argument in your defense after you get arrested for running away from a cop.

            • “we’re not allowed to fear for our “safety.””

              THIS, is what it means to be FREE!
              Don’t you see?
              THIS, is what The Troops are fighting for!
              Don’t you see?
              It’s a bit depressing that so many People can;t see the Forest for The trees. …Ah well, such is life, in an un-free world.
              Parry on.

              • Helot,
                Those of us who see the forest AND the trees are in a distinct minority – and much despised by the “cloverific” III%ers. (Three Percenters.) Most of them think that we can restore constitutional rule of law by voting in the right people, and peaceful discussion.

                People who advocate ANY action other than petitions and voting are viewed as “extremists” and “traitors (to Da Faderland.)”

                What’s a wolf to do?

            • I’m getting tired of the lamestream media yakking day after day about when the grand jury in Ferguson MO might come to a conclusion about charging the WHITE police officer with killing an unarmed BLACK teenager. An on-duty LEO killed and unarmed teenager. What difference does the color of EITHER of them have to do with diddley squat? No matter how “big and scarey” the teenager was. The cop was IN HIS CAR! And he couldn’t have escaped?

        • And the bobbies still are disarmed, carrying only a small baton. If guns are needed, a special unit is called in to deal with the issue.


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