An unarmed man identified as Akai Gurley, 28, was shot and killed by police Thursday evening while exiting a building with his girlfriend.

According to police reports, Gurley had spent the evening at his girlfriend’s apartment inside the Louis Pink Housing Projects in the Brownsville/East New York section of Brooklyn.

The couple left the seventh floor apartment around 11:15pm. and tried to take an elevator down to the bottom floor. But when the elevator wouldn’t work, they decided to exit via the stairwell.

Two officers in the stairwell conducting a top-to-bottom patrol of the building encountered the couple in the dark stairwell, and one of the officers, identified as Peter Liang fired at the couple from the eighth floor, striking Gurley, who was on the seventh floor landing, in the chest.

Gurley collapsed and tumbled down to the fifth floor. The victim’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler, then tried to give Gurley first aid. He was transported to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton called the fatal shooting an “unfortunate tragedy.”

But Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, representing Brooklyn’s 8th District, said “talk is cheap,” and “the community demands action.”

“The senseless killing of another unarmed African-American male by the NYPD should shock the conscience of all New Yorkers and the nation,” said Jeffries.

“Our Mayor and the Police Commissioner must commit to a systematic change in the law enforcement culture of this City. Anything less will not be tolerated.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and NYPD Internal Affairs are investigating the incident.

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  1. Wow! So now it’s a crime to use the stairs?? A capital crime, at that. RIP, Mr. Gurley, and strength and comfort to Ms. Butler–and to the police officers, who will certainly need our prayers as well.

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