The two officers had taken the elevator to check out the roof and, shortly before midnight, they entered the eighth-floor stairwell to walk back down. The lights were not working, making it nearly impossible to see, so both officers took out their flashlights.
Officer Liang also drew his weapon, the police said.
At the same moment the officers started down the stairwell, Mr. Gurley and his girlfriend entered through a door on the seventh floor, fourteen concrete steps below the officers.
It was unclear why, but Officer Liang accidentally discharged his weapon and fired a single shot that struck Mr. Gurley in the chest.
The force of the blast sent Mr. Gurley tumbling down two flights of stairs, where his girlfriend knelt by his side. The officers, who briefly backed out of the stairwell, found her by Mr. Gurley’s side trying to save his life.
Mr. Gurley was taken to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Following standard protocol, Officer Liang was relieved of his gun and his badge.
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