NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton called the unarmed man shot and killed by an officer in Brooklyn on Thursday night a "total innocent."

Akai Gurley, 28, was killed inside of the Pink Houses in East New York around 11:15 p.m. Thursday night. Probationary Officer Peter Liang and his partner were in the midst of a "vertical patrol" inside of a stairwell when Gurley entered. The New York Daily News reports that a startled Liang accidentally discharged his weapon, and the bullet struck Gurley in the chest after ricocheting off the wall. He later died at Brookdale Hospital. 

Gurley's girlfriend, Melissa Butler, had just finished braiding his hair. A police source told the New York Daily News that Liang was reduced to a "crying mess" and sat on the floor for "45 minutes" after shooting Gurley. Bratton addressed the incident in a statement yesterday: 

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

The Daily News noted that Liang, who has yet to offer his account of what happened, has been relegated to modified duty while an Internal Affairs investigation is conducted. 

[via New York Daily News]

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