A wedding reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Saturday went horribly wrong when a guest accidentally discharged a firearm. Only one person was hit due to the bullet ricocheting off the floor and grazing their head. Four other people, however, were injured as a result of debris caused by the gunshot. Two women and one man received leg injuries as a result of the flying debris.
A spokesperson from the fire department indicated that two injured people from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel were rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center after medical crews attended the incident, which occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Another two people were taken to Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s for medical attention, while the remaining injured person refused treatment at the scene.
According to Deputy Chief William Aubry, a gun was accidentally discharged around 7.30 p.m. in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel lobby. The resultant bullet ricocheted off the floor and hit a woman in the head, grazing her but not causing substantial injury. The others were injured from debris such as glass, marble, and tile. The reception was being held inside the East Terrace of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a section which has a marble tiled floor.
At first, police declined releasing the name of the person who discharged the firearm inside the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, but the Daily News now states the male responsible was 42-year old Vladimir Gutlbovsky. The NYPD indicated Gutlbovsky’s weapon discharged after he reached into his pocket to retrieve his seating card. While Gutlbovsky claimed he was a licensed permit holder, it took police a while to locate the actual weapon, as Gutlbovsky had handed the weapon to someone else directly following the accidental discharge. Witnesses saw police rifling through garbage cans outside the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, apparently in an attempt to locate the missing weapon.
The woman struck by the bullet was Maya Rafailovich, 55, one of the injured who attended the Bellevue Hospital Center. However, Maya Rafailovich was able to smoke a cigarette as she was being led away from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
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The wedding reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was cut short as a result of the accidental shooting. Roxanne Freedove, the wedding singer from the band attending, was disappointed for the bride and her special day.
“I just feel bad for the bride. Could you imagine that happening on your wedding day? It was terrible… The cops kept all of the guests in a room below the ballroom so they could talk to them and we were up in the ballroom with all the food and all the flowers and the room just looked beautiful. If I were the bride, I would make that guy pay for everything. I can’t imagine how much money they spent on the wedding — and to have this happen.”
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel has refrained from commenting on the incident.
[Image credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt]