NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An unarmed and unsuspecting man was shot in the chest and killed by a rookie police officer in the inside stairwell of a Brooklyn housing complex late Thursday, and police officials have said it appeared to be accidental.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, police sources told CBS2 that Officer Peter Liang was trying to open a door while holding a gun, and the gun went off accidentally.
But some critics doubt the claims, and a group that included state Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) called for NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to step down Friday night, CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
“Bratton must go! Bratton must go!” the group chanted at the Louis Pink Houses public housing development in East New York, Brooklyn, where the shooting occurred.
“You think Ferguson was bad, you keep killing us here in New York and getting away with it, you haven’t seen anything yet,” Assemblyman-elect Barron said.
The incident happened around 11:15 p.m. Thursday as two officers were patrolling inside a building in the development on Linden Boulevard, CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported.
On Friday evening, the lights had been fixed in the stairwell in the Pink Houses building where the incident happened. But the night before, police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the hallway was pitch black – but for the light that would have been provided from the hallway behind the door to the eighth floor.
Police said the two officers were descending the dimly lit stairwell, when Akai Gurley, 28, who entered the stairwell from the seventh floor, a story down, with his girlfriend.
At that point, rookie Officer Peter Liang apparently accidentally discharged one shot from his service weapon, striking Gurley in the chest, Bratton said. He was taken to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.