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Death of Akai Gurley ruled a homicide: medical examiner

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) -- The death of Akai Gurley, who was fatally shot by a police officer, has been ruled a homicide.

Gurley died from a gunshot wound to the torso, the medical examiner ruled Sunday. The shooting happened Thursday night inside the Pink Houses, located at 2724 Linden Blvd. in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

Two officers part of a “violence reduction overtime detail” were patrolling the building when they walked into a dimly lit stairwell on the eighth-floor.

When the officers entered the dark staircase Thursday night, one of them -- identified as rookie cop Peter Liang -- drew his flashlight and weapon, Bratton said. The other did not take out his gun.

That’s when Akai Gurley walked into the staircase a floor below the officers. In the near-darkness, the armed officer’s weapon discharged once, hitting the man in the chest, Bratton said.

The New York City Medical Examiner's office said in a statement "The classification does not imply any statement about intent or culpability, and as with all classifications made by OCME, the evaluation of legal implications of this classification is a function of the District Attorney and the criminal justice system."

This comes as the Brooklyn district attorney continues his investigation. Elected officials met with Ken Thompson Sunday to discuss the investigation into the shooting.

"The district attorney is committed to a full and fair investigation," said Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. "The matter has been assigned to the Civil Rights Unit within the Brooklyn district attorney's office."

According to Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron, Melissa Butler will speak with the district attorney Monday. She was with Gurley the night of his death.

"We are bringing the only witness to the case -- the young lady who was with him in the stairwell," Barron said.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office told PIX11 Thompson has pledged to conduct a fair and thorough investigation on behalf of the people of Brooklyn.

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