NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Tommy Gilbert was part of the trust-fund-baby crowd, a handsome Princeton grad who flitted between his Manhattan home and the Hamptons and attended society parties at museums and symphonies while living off an allowance from his parents.
On the surface, it was a charmed life.
But he was in debt, with no job or recent work history. He was a suspect in a fire that destroyed a mansion on Long Island, a law enforcement official said. He was accused of harassing a friend. And his mother told police he had a tense relationship with his Wall Street father and a history of mental illness, authorities said.
On Sunday afternoon, police say, it all erupted in violence over a small amount of money.
Threatened with a cut of a few hundred dollars in his monthly allowance, Gilbert went to his parents’ apartment on wealthy Beekman Place on Manhattan’s East Side and shot his father to death, authorities said.
The 30-year-old was arraigned Monday on murder charges and jailed without bail. His attorney had no comment.
Gilbert had gone to his parents’ home saying he wanted to have a word alone with his father, hedge fund founder Thomas Gilbert Sr. His mother went out to get him some food and was gone about 15 minutes when she got a “bad feeling” and went back, said Robert Boyce, chief of detectives.
She found her 70-year-old husband on the bedroom floor, a bullet hole in his head, Boyce said.
A .40-caliber Glock was resting on his chest, his left hand on the gun. Boyce said it was a staged to look like suicide, but the gun wasn’t in the right position for a self-inflicted wound.
Neighbor Christopher Kelly, who lives on the floor below, told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller he heard a thump at around 3:30 p.m.
“Almost as if somebody had dropped something heavy like a glass on the floor from the apartment above us,” he said.
Detectives waited outside Gilbert Jr.’s $3,000-a-month apartment in a six-floor walkup in Chelsea. When they saw a light go on, they went in and found bullets and empty shell casings along with 21 blank credit cards and a device for stealing card numbers, police said.
“He was on a stipend from the family. Looks like he was in debt,” Boyce said.
Gilbert was taken in for questioning but he refused to speak to detectives and asked for an attorney.
His father, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School, worked on Wall Street for more than 40 years and founded Wainscott Capital Partners Fund in 2011. The fund has $200 million in assets.
The shooting was a rare act of violence in the well-to-do neighborhood near the United Nations.
Neighbor Pierre Gazarian remembered Gilbert as “incredibly courteous, elegant,” and praised his “civility.”
Gilbert Jr. graduated from Princeton in 2009 with a degree in economics and was trying to follow in his father’s footsteps: He had filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission to start a hedge fund of his own, Mameluke Capital.
He attended galas and fundraisers with the city’s wealthy. In many society photos, some taken at such places as the Frick Collection and the New York Philharmonic, he was seen posing with smiling young women and looking tan at the beach.
But he was arrested and accused in September of harassing Peter N. Smith in the town of Southampton, on Long Island, and had a Feb. 2 court date. And a law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Gilbert is a suspect in a blaze that burned down Smith’s father’s mansion three days before his arrest.
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