A man who fired his pistol in a wedding at the high-class Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York is not facing any charges – for the time being. The shooting left one woman with a minor wound to her head, and others with glass cuts. The authorities explained that he had a permit to carry the weapon, but some are wondering how the man is getting off so easily.
NBC News reports that Vladimir Gotlibovsky, 42, was playing with his 9mm Ruger when the weapon suddenly went off, tearing a hole through Gotlibovsky’s pants and sending four people to the hospital for minor injuries. One wedding guest, 55-year-old Maya Rafailovich, suffered a minor grazing to her head.
Police initially arrested the man outside the Astoria, but later decided to defer charges.
The District Attorney’s office released a statement on the wedding shooting through a spokesman.
“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. The person believed to have discharged the weapon has a permit authorizing him to possess and carry it.”
Gotlibovsky was initially charged with tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, and assault with criminal negligence, according to the New York Post.
After shooting the gun, Vladimir gave the weapon to his brother Felix, who then gave it to his mother. The mother then gave it to Vladimir’s wife, who put it in her purse, left the wedding, and returned to the couple’s home in the Bronx.
The authorities arrested Felix Gotlibovsky before deferring his charges as well. Investigators are also looking into charging the wife and mother.
According to the New York Daily News, at least one legal expert, gun lawyer Jerold Levine, questioned the DA’s decision.
“Who do they know? If the police think he did all these things, then why is the case being dropped so quickly?”
Gotlibovsky’s gun permit allows him to carry the weapon into residences and businesses, which includes the ritzy Astoria Hotel. He reportedly carries it for protection in his Bronx liquor store and said he brought it to the wedding because he had just come from work.
Nevertheless, Levine explained that an accidental discharge is sufficient for a charge of reckless endangerment, since an “accidental” shooting is actually an exaggeration.
“How does a gun accidentally go off? Contrary to popular belief, there are no gun accidents. People have to do things. If the gun goes off it’s because they’ve left the gun in an unsafe condition.”
Gotlibovsky’s lawyer Arthur Gershfeld defended the authorities’ decision, explaining that “there was no recklessness in this case.”
“The evidence doesn’t support the crime and therefore the DA’s office made the appropriate decision.”
Investigators will continue their investigation as the guests and staff from the Astoria wedding shooting recover.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]