A disgruntled construction worker fatally shot his former supervisor in the head before turning the gun on himself Thursday morning at Waterline Square, a luxury condominium project being developed by GID Development.
The New York Police Department identified the victim as Christopher Sayers, 37, of Farmingdale, Long Island.
The New York City District Council of Carpenters confirmed to The Real Deal that both Sayers and the 44-year-old shooter, Samuel Perry, were members of Local 212.
“Our hearts are heavy upon hearing the news of the tragic event that occurred this morning involving two of our union brothers,” a representative of the council said in a statement. “Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of NYCDCC member Christopher Sayers who lost his life to workplace violence at 645 West 59th Street. We are working diligently with authorities to assist in their investigation of the incident as we also provide support to our members during this challenging time.”
According to authorities, Sayers was on the 37th floor of The Building Near 11th Avenue And West 59th Street at about 7:10 a.m. when Perry, whom he had fired days earlier, approached him and shot him four times. Perry, who police said was a resident of Far Rockaway, then fled the scene and fatally shot himself on the fifth floor of the job site.
Construction workers told the New York Daily News that the shooter, known as “Sammy,” met with workers on the 37th floor to pick up his last paycheck. Perry then handed over his work belt before approaching the supervisor with a gun in hand, witnesses told the newspaper.
“I just heard one shot. That was it,” Ed Capaldo, a construction worker at Waterline Square, told DNAinfo. “It was really loud — just one pop. Everyone started running. Everybody was yelling, ‘Someone got shot.'”
Workers told TRD and various outlets that Sayers and Perry had argued over a wall Perry had put up two days prior, the event that apparently led to the firing. Colleagues also described Perry as having a temper, but they never imagined the bloody scene that unfolded at the work site.
“These are people that I spend most of my time with,” said Shawndy Sheppard, a construction worker with the local union. “It hurts. I spend more time with them than I do with my family.” She added that Sayers was an amazing boss and that Perry was an amazing worker.
Perry had been arrested three times before—twice for assault and once for burglary—and his latest arrest was in 2005, according to police. Officers said he was upset about the level of respect Sayers had for him and the other workers.
The attack appears to have been premeditated, as Perry had told his neighbors and brother that he was planning to take his revenge after getting fired by killing himself and his boss, according to the New York Post.
Waterline Square is one of the biggest and priciest condo projects to hit the market this year. The development team, which along with GID includes Abu Dhabi Investment Authority subsidiary Henley Holding, is projecting a $1.15 billion sellout for 263 condo units. The developers declined to comment.
Tishman Construction is the general contractor at the site and did not immediately provide a statement. Perry and Sayers appear to have been employed by a subcontractor on the site, Sorbara Construction. The company declined to comment.
As he left the job site, which was surrounded by police with semiautomatic rifles, one worker said: “Right now I gotta go get a drink because two of my best friends just died.”