Moments after a rookie New York Police Department officer accidentally shot 28-year-old Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn stairwell last month, he texted his union representative instead of calling paramedics, unidentified sources exclusively told the New York Daily News.
Officer Peter Liang and partner Shaun Landau did not communicate with their commanding officer for more than six and a half minutes after the shooting, the Daily News reported. The commanding officer and a 911 operator -- who was made aware of the shooting by a neighbor in the building -- attempted to contact the pair, but they did not respond.
“That’s showing negligence,” a law-enforcement source told the News. “The guy is dying, and you still haven’t called it in?”
When the officers returned to their radios, they reported an accidental discharge, a source said. According to police, the officers did not immediately know the bullet struck Gurley.
Liang, who has been on the force for less than 18 months, was on a violence-reduction overtime detail that had him and his partner Landau conducting floor-by-floor sweeps of buildings.
On Nov. 20 at about 11 p.m. EST, the officers were at the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York in Brooklyn, WNBC-TV reported. Several major crimes had been reported at the housing project this year. The officers had finished checking the eighth floor, the top floor of the building, when they noticed the stairwell leading to the roof was dimly lit. For safety reasons, they took out their flashlights. Liang also drew his weapon, while Landau kept his holstered.
When Gurley, who was unarmed, appeared on the seventh-floor landing, he startled the officers -- and Liang accidentally discharged his weapon. The bullet hit a wall and ricocheted into Gurley’s chest. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has called the shooting “an unfortunate tragedy” and Gurley a “total innocent.”
Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney Ken Thompson has launched an investigation into the shooting, saying he would convene a grand jury “to get to the bottom of what happened,” WNBC-TV reported. “Many questions must be answered, including whether, as reported, the lights in the hallway were out for a number of days, and how this tragedy actually occurred,” Thompson said in a statement shortly after the event.