A Plainview man was fatally shot Thursday morning on the Upper West Side by a disgruntled former employee who he had fired two days earlier, NYPD officials said.
Christopher Sayers, the 37-year-old foreman of a high-rise building under construction at 645 W. 59th Street, between 11th and 12th avenues, was found shot on the 37th floor after police began receiving 911 calls about 7:10 a.m., police said. Sayers was pronounced dead at the scene, police said, and investigators found two spent shells there.
The suspect, Samuel Perry, 44, of Far Rockaway, Queens, was found dead at 8:45 a.m. with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the building’s fifth-floor, police said. A 9 mm semi-automatic gun was found nearby, police said.
Mourners, some wearing construction clothing and wiping away tears, arrived at Sayers’ home on Audrey Avenue Thursday, but declined to comment to reporters. Family members could not be reached by phone.
NYPD Deputy Chief Christopher J. McCormack, speaking at a news conference, said Perry, described by other workers as “a bit of a hothead,” was fired two days before the shooting.
Asked about what Perry’s motivation may have been, McCormack said “it was respect of himself and the workers.”
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 Houston and Sean Houston, who have lived across the street from Perry for almost two years, said most people stayed away from Perry’s home because his dog would bark at them.
Another neighbor, Patrick Inabinet, said of Perry: “He was 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.”
Perry had three prior arrests, two for assault and one for robbery, but had not been arrested since 2005, police said.
Police initially thought it was an active shooter situation, and initiated protocol in which patrol, Emergency Services, Critical Response Command and Strategic Response Group units were brought in, said Deputy Chief Philip Rivera of Patrol Borough Manhattan North.
But instead, police said, they soon realized it was workplace violence.
A high-ranking NYPD official said there is an established protocol when you arrive at a scene where there is shooting going on or shooter 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 -- the scene of the slaying -- and then work down, floor-by-floor to the fifth floor where they found Perry, the shooter, the source said.
— With Nicole Brown, Mark Morales and Michael O’Keeffe