Liang was patrolling the dark stairwell of Gurley’s Brooklyn apartment building the night of November 20, 2014. When Gurley and his girlfriend entered the stairway three flights below, Liang, who already had his gun drawn, fired a single shot, which ricocheted off the wall and fatally wounded Gurley. According to prosecutors, Liang did not attempt to resuscitate Gurley, telling witnesses that it would be best to wait for paramedics to arrive, which isn’t police protocol.
According to defense attorneys, Liang was distraught after the shooting and said that he quickly radioed for help after realizing that Gurley had been wounded.
“What happened here is a tragedy,” defense attorney Robert Brown said during closing arguments. “It’s a terrible tragedy. But it’s not a crime.”
Liang has been charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault and official misconduct. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison. A verdict is expected in the coming days.