NYPD: Fatal police-involved shooting appears accidental

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says a fatal police-involved shooting in East New York last night appears accidental.

According to authorities, 28-year-old Akai Gurley was shot in the chest by an officer at the Pink Houses on Linden Boulevard late Thursday night. News 12 Brooklyn is told Gurley is from Red Hook and was visiting a friend at the Pink Houses.

Police say two uniformed officers were on patrol at the apartment complex when they came into contact with the victim in a dimly lit stairwell. According to the commissioner, a probationary officer appears to have accidentally shot and killed Gurley.

Gurley was rushed to Brookdale Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. The officers were also taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment of tinnitus.

Bratton says the officers were assigned to patrol the area after an uptick in violence in the neighborhood. He says they were checking the building from the roof down and working down the stairwell. The commissioner called the vertical patrols essential, and says the officer's weapon and a flashlight were already drawn due to the low lighting.

News 12 is told Gurley wasn't committing a crime or being aggressive at the time of the shooting. Bratton says authorities did not find a gun on Gurley. Bratton also says Gurley was with his girlfriend.

Bratton described the incident as an unfortunate case.

Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron refuted Commissioner Bratton's take on the incident, saying it was not an accident. He says a young, inexperienced police officer should not have been patrolling such a dangerous area.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bratton say the officer has been placed on modified duty and that his gun and badge have been removed. Police are still investigating the case.

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