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AUDIO: 'He's Not Breathing!' 911 Tape of Akai Gurley Shooting Released

By Trevor Kapp | January 25, 2016 4:27pm
 NYPD Officer Peter Liang faces criminally negligent homicide charges in the shooting death of unarmed dad Akai Gurley..
NYPD Officer Peter Liang faces criminally negligent homicide charges in the shooting death of unarmed dad Akai Gurley..
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Pool/Jesse Ward

BROOKLYN SUPREME COURT — Chilling 911 audio released Monday reveals the chaotic moments after an unarmed man was shot in the stairwell of a public housing unit by an NYPD officer.

“He’s not breathing!” Akai Gurley's girlfriend, Melissa Butler, is heard shouting on the 911 dispatch.

The recording was released following opening arguments in the trial, which is expected to last about two weeks.

Liang, who is charged with criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter, fatally shot Gurley, 27, while conducting a vertical patrol in the Pink Houses Nov. 23, 2014. Liang didn’t render aid to Gurley, but his defense team has argued the shooting was an accident and that he was too distraught to help.

Pink Houses resident Melissa Lopez, who’s a housing emergency service worker for NYCHA, placed the 911 call.

“My neighbor knocked on my door and said, ‘My boyfriend got shot!’ And asked me to call the cops,” Lopez says. “He’s shot in the chest. He’s in the stairwell,”

“He’s breathing, but I don’t know,” she adds.

The dispatcher instructs Lopez to advise Butler on how to render first aid.

“Tell her to put the towel real thick right over the gunshot wound and hold it down,” the dispatcher says. “Tell her to pinch his nose, put her mouth on top of his.”

“Keep trying to breathe for him,” she adds. “Pinch the nose, put her mouth on top of his mouth and blow two breaths in.”

Liang is heard only once in the audio.

“What’s the address?” he asks.

Brooklyn District Attorney Marc Fliedner called the officer "reckless" and claimed he was more concerned about the damaged to his career than helping the fatally wounded man.

"Peter Liang recklessly pulled out his gun and pumped the bullet that...ripped through Akai Gurley's chest and tore through his heart," the prosecutor said, according to the New York Post. "And then, instead of doing all that he could to save Akai Gurley, he whined and moaned about how he would get fired."

Lopez later overheard Liang tell a supervisor that he accidentally shot Gurley.

“The cops shot him,” Lopez tells the dispatcher. “There’s like a million cops in the hallway and I’m already in the house.”

The officer's lawyer, Rae Koshetz, said that her client had his gun out out of fear for his own safety.

"His gun was out because he was heading to the roof, the most dangerous area of the building," the lawyer said during opening arguments, according to the New York Daily News.

She argued last week that the officer was too upset after the shooting to provide aid to the wounded man.

Liang is expected to testify next week.