Poughkeepsie Marriott worker claims distress from shooting
An employee at a Poughkeepsie Marriott where a Long Island man was killed is suing the hotel for $50 million and the gunman who she said fired a bullet at point-blank range, missing her head by inches.
Olga Hostyeva was working as a barista at the Courtyard by Marriott on Oct. 2 during Marist College family weekend, serving coffee to Paul Kutz, an East Northport accountant and father of three who was staying at the hotel while visiting his son.
A man entered the lobby, identified by authorities as Roy Johnson, who was seen roaming around the hotel in underwear, a trench coat, and a ski mask.
Police said Johnson was waving around a gun, shouting obscenities and turned toward Kutz, and opened fire, striking Kutz in the chest, causing him to fall from his chair and die in the hotel lobby. Kutz did not know the gunman and police said he was not deliberately targeted before Johnson entered the lobby.
Hostyeva said before Kutz was shot, she saw Johnson, “acting erratically, staring blankly at the wall, mumbling to himself, and shouting profanities spontaneously,” according to the lawsuit filed in Dutchess County Supreme Court.
“Seconds later, Defendant Johnson turned his head and directly locked eyes with Olga … then brandished his gun and pointed its muzzle at her from a distance of merely a few feet,” the lawsuit states. “She closed her eyes in fear and heard a loud blast; after a moment, Olga opened her eyes only to learn that Johnson’s bullet missed her head by only a few inches.”
She said Johnson’s gun malfunctioned when she ran for cover in the kitchen before Kutz was killed.
Hostyeva and her attorneys filed suit against Marriott International, Courtyard Management, and CBM Two Hotels, which the suit said was managing the Poughkeepsie hotel and Johnson. She cited severe emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypervigilance, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, paranoia, insomnia, nightmare disorder, agoraphobia, depression, mental anguish, trauma, including trauma trigger, and other psychological injuries.
Defense attorneys for the hotels and Johnson did not respond to requests for comment.
It is the second lawsuit filed against Marriott and the hotel. A Suffolk County woman, Tina Martirano, who was sitting with Kutz when he was shot, also filed a $50 million lawsuit against the hotel for failing to protect their guests.
In both cases, the lawsuits state that an unknown man rented the room at the hotel for Johnson and Devin M. Taylor.
Johnson was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, including using a modified Glock during the shooting, converted into an automatic weapon. Taylor, 26, was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Police later searched the room and found bomb-making materials and an AR-15 rifle.
Hostyeva argued in the lawsuit that the hotel escorted Johnson and Taylor with their luggage and the third man who arrived empty-handed to the room the day before the shooting.
She said the men were seen roaming the hotel and coming and going from their room, carrying, ”an arsenal of illegally modified firearms, bomb-making supplies and materials, ammunition, and other suspicious-looking bags, each time passing the front desk, and other Marriott personnel,” according to her suit.