Peter Liang testifies in own defense

The NYPD officer on trial for manslaughter in the shooting death of an innocent man in Brooklyn testified in his own defense Monday. Officer Peter

An NYPD officer on trial for manslaughter testifies in court.

An NYPD officer on trial for manslaughter testifies in court. (2/8/16)

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN - The NYPD officer on trial for manslaughter in the shooting death of an innocent man in Brooklyn testified in his own defense Monday.

Officer Peter Liang's defense attorney says he accidentally fired the shot that ricocheted off a wall and killed Akai Gurley in an unlit East New York housing complex stairwell in 2014.

Liang broke down in tears after describing how he found Gurley on the ground at the Pink Houses, saying the victim appeared seriously injured with eyes rolled back in his head.

Liang has said he was startled by a noise and his gun went off accidentally, but prosecutors have sought to show that he had been trained on how to properly handle the weapon.

During two hours of testimony, Liang said that he placed his gun in his left hand to hold a flashlight in his right. He said he accidentally fired the shot when the noise startled him.

Liang said he couldn't call in the shooting because he was too distraught, and couldn't perform CPR because he felt it was better to get professional medical attention.

After the day in court, Gurley's family addressed the media outside. His aunt, Hertencia Peterson, offered scathing criticism of the NYPD and Officer Liang.

"Shame on you," she said. "Shame on every NYPD officer that thinks it's OK to take an innocent life. Shame on the commissioner. Shame. Shame. Shame."

Liang's trial will move on to both sides' closing arguments on Tuesday. 

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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