Prosecution of charges deferred in Waldorf Astoria gunfire

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, a taxi passes in front of the fabled Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. A police source said a wedding guest’s gun went off accidentally at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Saturday, June 13, 2015, and a few people suffered minor injuries from debris. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The prosecution of charges in a gunfire incident at the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel is being put on hold while the investigation continues, a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney said Sunday.

The New York Police Department had said earlier in the day that a man had been arrested after a gun in his pocket went off Saturday night, injuring four people. Another man had also been arrested.

“Prosecution of this case is deferred while the investigation continues into the circumstances surrounding the discharge of the firearm and its removal from the scene,” said Patrick Muncie, spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Police had said Vladimir Gotlibovsky, 42, was arrested on charges including assault, reckless endangerment, and tampering with physical evidence. Another man, Felix Gotlibovsky, 51, was also arrested, on charges of criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.

Authorities said the Brooklyn men were at the Park Avenue hotel Saturday night as a wedding was taking place. Police did not immediately say whether the two men are related.

Exactly what caused the gun to fire was unclear. Police said the 9mm Ruger was in Vladimir Gotlibovsky’s pocket when it went off and hit the floor.

Muncie said Vladimir Gotlibovsky has a permit to possess and carry the weapon.

Police said four people were hit by shrapnel from the bullet or debris such as marble or glass. A 55-year-old woman had a graze wound to the forehead; a 59-year-old man had a fragment wound to his right leg; a 45-year-old woman had fragment wounds to both legs, and a 37-year-old woman had injuries to both legs. All were taken to hospitals where they were treated and released.

Authorities said the weapon was recovered from a different location.

The Waldorf Astoria is one of New York’s best-known hotels, and where the president stays during the United Nations General Assembly.

No one answered the phone at a number listed for Vladimir Gotlibovsky. A woman hung up when contacted at a number for Felix Gotlibovsky.
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