A disgruntled former construction worker fatally shot the man who fired him before killing himself at a high-rise building on the Upper West Side Thursday morning, police said.
Christopher Sayers, a 37-year-old foreman of the site, was found shot in the head on the 37th floor of the building under construction on West 59th Street, between 11th and 12th avenues, at about 7:15 a.m., cops said. Investigators found two spent shells there, they said.
Sayers was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect, Samuel Perry, 44, of Far Rockaway, was later found dead on the fifth floor with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said. A 9 mm semi-automatic gun was found nearby.
Perry was fired two days before the shooting, Deputy Chief Christopher J. McCormack said at a news conference.
Other workers at the site told police Perry “was a bit of a hothead,” McCormack said. He had three prior arrests, two for assault and one for robbery, police said, but he had not been arrested since 2005.
On Perry’s street in Far Rockaway, police blocked access to his home, while neighbors expressed shock.
One of Perry’s neighbors, a man who only identified himself as Mike, said he had worked on construction jobs with him in the past and also knew Sayers.
“He took his job very seriously,” Mike said of Perry. “It’s a shocker he did this.”
Mike described Perry as quiet, respectful and courteous, but also a “loner” who “kept to himself on coffee breaks and lunch.”
Javanna and Sean Houston, who have lived across the street from Perry for almost two years, said most people stayed away from his home because his dog would bark at them.
Another neighbor, Patrick Inabinet, also described Perry as “a quiet guy.”
“I’d see him go to work, come home, work on his house. He would play with his dog in the yard,” he said.
Mourners, some wearing construction clothing and wiping away tears, arrived at Sayers’ home on Long Island Thursday, but declined to comment to reporters. Family members could not be reached by phone.
Police initially responded to reports of an active shooter at the site, but quickly determined it was an incident of workplace violence, the NYPD said.
A high-ranking NYPD official said there is an established protocol when police arrive at a scene where there is an active shooter or a gunman is still in the building. Officers methodically move through each floor.
In this case, since the site was under construction, it was easy for officers to get up to the 37th floor and then work down, floor-by-floor to the fifth floor where they found Perry, the source said.
The building where the shooting happened will be part of a development with several luxury apartment buildings.
With Nicole Fuller, Anthony M. DeStefano, Mark Morales and Michael O’Keeffe