Former NYPD Officer to Be Sentenced in Deadly Stairwell Shooting

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A former New York City police officer is expected to be sentenced Tuesday in the shooting death of an unarmed man who the police commissioner said "just happened" to be in the dark stairwell when the officer fired his gun.

A jury convicted Peter Liang of second-degree manslaughter in February for the shooting death of Akai Gurley. The police department fired Liang shortly after the verdict.

Liang was 28 years old and 18 months out of the police academy when he was patrolling a public housing project in Brooklyn, New York, in November 2014. He fired once and the bullet ricocheted, killing Gurley, who was also in the stairwell.

Liang could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter.

But Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who has said the officer should not have had his finger on the gun unless he was ready to shoot, told the judge last month that "a prison sentence is not warranted." Thompson recommended that Liang be sentenced to five years of probation, with the condition that he serve six months of home confinement with electric monitoring, and 500 hours of community service.

Thompson said in a statement that Liang's "reckless actions caused an innocent man to lose his life. There is no evidence, however, that he intended to kill or injure Akai Gurley. When Mr. Liang went into that building that night, he did so as part of his job and to keep the people of Brooklyn and our city safe."

"Liang has no prior criminal history and poses no future threat to public safety. Because his incarceration is not necessary to protect the public, and due to the unique circumstances of this case, a prison sentence is not warranted," Thompson said. "The sentence that I have requested is just and fair under the circumstances of this case. From the beginning, this tragic case has always been about justice and not about revenge."

Liang's attorney Paul Shechtman told ABC News before sentencing that he hopes the judge will follow Thompson's recommendation.

Going forward, Shechtman said they are looking to appeal the conviction as well as a juror misconduct motion that was denied last week.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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