UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A foreman was fatally shot in an apparent workplace dispute at a Manhattan construction site before the gunman killed himself, authorities said.
Police received 911 calls of a man shot at 10 Riverside Boulevard around 7:10 a.m.Thursday, and responding officers found a man on the 37th floor of the building under construction.
The 37-year-old formean, identified as Christopher Sayers, had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
"When I got upstairs, I saw my foreman on the floor, which is a good friend of mine as well," construction worker Robert Pagan said. "I checked his pulse, and it didn't seem like he had a pulse. So I didn't want to move him or anything, so I just left him."
Authorities say the suspect in the shooting, 44-year-old Samuel Perry, was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the fifth floor. Pagan said he actually encountered Perry after discovering Sayers' body.
"I actually hugged him on the way down," Pagan said. "Not knowing that he had done it."
Heavily armed police officers responded to search the construction site floor by floor following the shooting.
Authorities say the incident stemmed from a workplace issue in which Perry had a dispute with Sayers and had been fired.
"Right now, we're understanding that he was fired two days ago," NYPD Deputy Chief Christopher McCormack said. "Talking to some of the workers so far, they said he was a bit of a hothead, and he was dismissed about two days ago. We are still looking to find out how he got back into the building."
Neighbors said Perry completely unraveled after being fired, but they had no idea Perry's threatening language would escalate to murder. He even left his dog with his neighbor, Mike, before setting out for work Thursday morning.
"When I heard the news, what I thought automatically was now I understand why he wanted me to hold his dog," Mike said. "He asked me to hold his dog for a few days. And I said, 'yeah, I'll hold your dog for a few days.' Then he said, 'Because if I can't find no one to watch my dog, I'm just gonna shoot him in the head and bury him in the yard.'"
A weapon was recovered at the scene.
Both the suspect and the victim were members of the same union, Local 212, which issued the following statement:
"It is with a very heavy heart that we say goodbye to two union brothers. We are working diligently with authorities to assist in their investigation."