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Regular readers know that TTAG abhors the term “accidental discharge.” There is no such thing. It is a negligent discharge. So when we hear NYPD Commissioner William Bratton say an officer’s gun “accidentally discharged,” we call bullshit. But that’s what Billy Boy had to say about this tragic tale [via] . . .

Akai Gurley had just entered the stairwell near his steady sweetheart’s seventh floor apartment at about 11:15 p.m. when Liang fatally shot him in the chest, said the source and the girlfriend.

The two only used the stairs because the building elevator was slow . . .

Officer Peter Liang, who fired the fatal shot, “heard a noise,” a police source told the Daily News. “It was dark. He must have been nervous.” . . .

“I shot him accidentally,” Liang told colleagues afterward. His partner never fired his gun, the source said . . .
The terrified couple ran down to the fifth floor before Gurley collapsed in a pool of blood. Butler, who was standing alongside her boyfriend when he was hit, recalled their frantic final moments together as she begged Gurley to keep fighting.

“Yo, you OK? Talk to me!” she recalled shouting. “He wasn’t saying nothing. That was the last thing I said to him.”

The victim’s helpless girlfriend has said she was left to watch Akai Gurley die after the single gunshot without a word warning.

Butler said the officers never came down to check on the mortally wounded man, and medical help was only sent after she banged on a neighbor’s door for help.

So Liang accidentally had his gun in his hand, accidentally pointed it into the darkness and accidentally pulled the trigger, accidentally hitting Gurley in the chest, killing him. Because he – the rookie cop – was nervous. As they say, gun safety is no accident.

[Note: Normally, I wouldn’t criticize Officer Liang’s actions without a full accounting of the incident in question. When it comes to OID, nine times out of ten, the first story is not the real story. But the NYPD said the officers were on a “routine patrol,” the stairwell was “pitch black” (know your target and what’s beyond it) and the shooting was an “accident.”]

[h/t JE and PB]


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  1. Hey isn’t “accidental discharge” is how a guild of degenerate, aberrant, govt terrorists come into the world??


  2. Could it be that they have never heard about a recent invention we on the west coast call the “flashlight” I always carry a small led lenser f1 / 400 lumens can we useful.

    • Sarcasm aside, the fact that flashlights are standard equipment for police officers lets us know that the whole story is bogus. That is without even mentioning that Officer Liang “heard a sound”; makes you kind of wonder why he didn’t feel the recoil. The news further doesn’t explain why he had his gun out of his holster in the first place. Because it was dark? Hmmm, I think it may be time for a new line of work, Mr. Liang.

      • SOP. They have the option of having guns out on vertical patrol. If you’ve ever been in the projects, you’d know why.

    • No, no, firing in the dark is sheer genius. It stands to reason that the only time the NYPD can hit something is when they’re shooting at nothing.

  3. Come on, RF, do you really think he could have hit center of mass with the first shot on purpose ?


  4. NO one in NY should have a gun ESPECIALLY the police department.
    When they are shooting at Perps. they miss,,
    When they are NOT shooting at Perps. they hit the target”

    Sure glad I no longer live there…

  5. He did have a light, that’s how he aimed and hit what he intended to hit. Not an accident at all, a mistake maybe, a crime certainly. He’ll be cleared most likely, though a non badge carrying citizen would be crucified for this act.

  6. A non cop in any state would fry under the same circumstances. Let’s see what happens here. My guess is a month’s paid vacation and a promotion.

  7. There are two things that I was taught never involve accidents. Car crashes and guns. The vast majority of the time it was someone’s negligence that caused a tragedy and not an ‘accident’.

  8. This sounds like murder. No reasonable provocation. I hope Officer Peter Liang is ejected from the police force and is charged with murder.

    Both officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment of tinnitus.

    I hear this all the time in reports about shootings. Allow everyone to carry sound suppressors. I will not assume a cop with a silencer is about to attempt an assassination. Firing a gun off the range shouldn’t have a automatic randomized penalty of hearing damage. Short suppressors that at least “take the edge off” of dangerous noise exposure without adding much length make suppressors viable for most uses in the field. The Thompson Machine Poseidon pistol suppressor is 4.125” long and shorter suppressors can and are being produced. MAG Tactical System’s Chubby 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifle suppressors are only 2.86″ in length! They also make 4.2″ and longer suppressors. If we didn’t have an anti bias against suppressors we’d likely have all sorts of innovate, safer pistols to carry. It could be normal to carry a modern, high-quality double-stacked polymer handgun designed with an integrally suppressed 4.5″ barrel (2.5″ barrel, 2″ suppressor). Such a gun could have less recoil and be easier to fire accurately, as well.

    • Liang is most likley guilty of 3rd degree murder. Notb that he will ever pay any kindn of price for his recklessness. Us?, that would be pretty cut and dried byb the time it came to “film at eleven”

    • Maybe leghorn could weigh in here. I remember him showing a picture of a tiny little 9mm suppressor maybe 3″ long that supposedly was more efficient than much larger suppressors. I don’t remember who made it but I do remember that it was LE and military only.

    • If only. The professionally outraged seem to have a knack for picking the wrong causes. This incident is at BEST negligent homicide. There is no case for whatsoever for this officer not facing charges. At least with officer Wilson there is legitimate cause for doubt.

      • If this case attracts significant attention, you can expect the conservative copsuckers to begin loudly and repeatedly proclaiming that the dead guy was a savage thug who attacked the cop without provocation and was shot in self defense, regardless of the actual facts of the case.

  9. Patrolling places like that isn’t for the faint of heart.

    Someone was in the wrong line of work if the reports are accurate.

  10. Ok, I can’t stand the improper terms anymore… its called an unintentional discharge. From there it is divided up into accidental and negligent. If you want to convict people without trials, thats on you.

    • Those NYPD triggers don’t pull themselves. Where can we draw a line between “didn’t mean to fire” and “meant to fire but shouldn’t have”?

      • RF stated there are no such things as accidental discharges. There are. Was this a case of accidental discharge, I doubt it. As far as how or why he had his pistol out and pulled the trigger, I wasn’t there. I still refuse to convict anyone of any crime without hearing all the evidence.

    • There must be something in the water up there. First you have the Sheriff who tells the citizen “get a gun and take some classes” and now you have the Chief saying we have a social-cultural problem which implies he has figured out that Milwaukee doesn’t have a gun problem.

    • sadly, this country does not have enough Police Chief Edward Flynn’s and as he states in that video, too bad the black community only cares about the few police incidents and not the 80% of the black community that is victimized by their own people every year.

  11. He was using the muzzle flash as a light.

    This is such a bizarre story, if it really did happen the way they say, they aren’t screening the psychos out of their recruitment stock very well. Or this story is partially made up to be an accident. I wonder if he will go to jail for murdering someone, or for brandishing a firearm, or for shooting in city limits, etc…

  12. The NYPD mandate for all issued guns is as 12 pound pull. How in the hell you you accidentally pull a 12 pd trigger?

  13. The NYPD mandate for all issued guns is as 12 pound pull. How in the hell do you accidentally pull a 12lb trigger?

  14. I’d like to know why they have two rookie cops patrolling a high crime area. Years ago a retired NYPD street officer told me you don’t send out two rookies on patrol like that. Always one is experienced. Times have changed.

    • This is apparently quite common. Rookie cops (often white rookies from Long Island) get assigned to foot patrol in the ghetto where they “learn to police.” Actually, they are told to make lots of arrests (often chicken shit “quality of life” arrests) and they wind up in conflict with a community that, umm, does not look like them. Check out the blog “Cop in the Hood” by Peter Moskos. He has discussed this brilliant strategy on multiple occasions.

  15. And ne’er followed up?

    You ALWAYS track and verify a botched kill; it’s part of hunting.

    Oh. They weren’t hunting? Couldda fooled me.

    Seriously, they climb about in darkened buildings shooting the tenants and don’t even eep what they kill.


  16. Police being hyper-paranoid pussies in diapers would go a long way to explaining a lot of their behavior.

  17. If the stairwell was pitch black, where were the officers’ flashlights? It’s 11:15 p.m. – that’s obviously night which means that it’s dark and they didn’t take flashlights? They were headed for the roof. It’s generally dark on roofs at night. Talk about a couple of rookies!

  18. [WARNING: Extreme Sarcasm Ahead]

    After reading this story, I realize that this cop is correct in the story he has told of the shooting. What really happened is that he had a ‘magic’ gun. Yes, it jumped out of its holster all by itself, it aimed at the now dead and murdered victim all by itself, and then the gun shot the now murdered victim all by itself. The cop had nothing to do with murdering this innocent person, and should be found completely guilt free.

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