Caught in the crossfire, Tina Martirano watched in horror the tragic shooting death of beloved Long Island father Paul Kutz at the Marriott Hotel where both families stayed for the Marist College family weekend event.
Martirano, also from Long Island, had been chatting with Kutz over a cup of coffee on the hotel’s first floor when Roy Johnson Jr. allegedly appeared with a gun and killed the father of three.
“Johnson suddenly emerged from the corridor leading to the first-floor rooms with both hands deep into his pockets, wearing only underpants under his trench coat, a ski mask, and was shouting profanities,” a lawsuit filed last week on behalf of Martirano states .
The lawsuit seeks $50 million in damages from the hotel, its corporate owners, as well as Johnson and Devin Taylor, who both pleaded not guilty last month to charges in the deadly shooting case. Johnson, the alleged gunman and a known fugitive at the timewas instructed on a murder charge, while Taylor faces weapons charges.
Martirano alleges the hotel had inadequate security policies in place to protect its guests, and staff working over that October weekend failed to enforce property policies against dangerous weapons. Authorities said Johnson and Taylor were arrested WITH WHAT WEAPONS.
The lawsuit also claims the two men occupied a room rented out by a third party, not by Johnson or Taylor. Martirano’s suit states hotel staff performed check-in protocols for the renter, but neither of the two men.
The hotel staff, the suit claims, laughed at the accused gunman’s actions after he entered the lobby moments before firing the fatal shot. The suit claims Johnson roamed the lobby, where observing hotel staff laughed off “his visibly erratic behavior.”
Moments later when he allegedly pulled out the gun, Martirano said everyone, including staff, fled the lobby, leaving her and Kutz trapped between the gunman and exit.
Martirano says Kutz made an attempt to calm Johnson and deescalate the situation, but the man fired upon Kutz “before Paul could even attempt to calm him down.” She said she watched as he fell from his chair to the ground.
Witnessing the tragedy first-hand has left Martirano suffering from PTSD, severe emotional distress and other psychological injuries. According to the lawsuit, she has been unable to return to work.
Paul Kutz was shot and killed in the lobby of a Poughkeepsie hotel while he was visiting his son at Marist College.