Two brothers have been criminally charged in connection with an accidental shooting during a weekend wedding reception in which four people were slightly wounded in the lobby of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, police said on Sunday.
One suspect, a wedding guest named Vladimir Gotlibovsky, 42, was apparently handling a 9-mm pistol he had concealed in his pants pocket when the gun inadvertently went off as he approached a table that bore seating-arrangement cards for the occasion, police said.
The single gunshot caused all four injuries, including a graze wound to the forehead of a 55-year-old woman struck by the ricocheting bullet, according to police. Two other women and a man suffered minor injuries to their legs from fragments kicked up when the bullet struck the floor and the base of a table.
All four victims were treated at hospitals following Saturday evening’s shooting and were released, police said.
Besides facing misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and assault with criminal negligence stemming from the gunfire itself, Gotlibovsky is accused of trying to conceal his role in the shooting with help from his older brother, Felix, 51.
According to a law enforcement source familiar with the case, the younger Gotlibovsky quickly passed the handgun to his sibling, who handed it off to the younger brother’s wife, who then fled back to the couple’s Brooklyn home with the weapon.
Both men were arrested and charged with felony evidence tampering, while the older brother was additionally charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon, said New York Police Department spokesman Officer George Tsourovakas.
The New York Daily News reported that the younger brother had a permit to carry the weapon at his residence and business but was barred from taking it elsewhere. Tsourovakas said those details remained under investigation.
(Reporting by Frank McGurty in New York; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)