Police are investigating the death of a man who fell through the glass ceiling of a luxury hotel in Hollywood early Sunday morning. The man's death, following the tenth-annual Fairy Tale Ball "The Wizard of Oz" fundraising event hosted by the Diamond Angels of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation, is a mystery at this point.
Guests at the hotel woke up to a disturbing surprise Sunday, as workers blocked off areas and cleaned up debris from the unexplained fall.
"It's terrible," Ben Epstein, a guest at the beachside Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, told the Sun Sentinel. "We went to dinner last night... went upstairs about 11:30 p.m. We didn't hear anything. Today we came downstairs and everything was all blocked off."
The man was pronounced dead at 12:38 after authorities responded to 911 calls from the hotel, some possibly related to sprinkler system malfunctions related to the fall.
"There was glass and debris in the lobby," said Hollywood Fire Rescue spokesman Joel Medina. "And there was damage to a sprinkler pipe that caused the sprinkler system to go on."
The man that fell has been identified as Piotr Kulesza, MD/PhD, a Chicago area Associate Professor in Pathology.
A few of the 600 people at the Hotel for the $250-a-plate charity function speculated about who the man was, and how he fell. "People were saying he was a speaker at a conference here -- they said he jumped or was pushed off of the 27th floor," said Cheryl Stasney of Knoxville, Tenn., a guest at the hotel.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred at the resort," said the hotel's general manager, Ed Walls. "The City of Hollywood Police have our full cooperation and support during this time."