By KAREN MATTHEWS
NEW YORK (AP) — An employee at a Home Depot store in Manhattan argued with a co-worker before fatally shooting him and then killing himself on Sunday, police said, sending panicked workers and shoppers rushing to get away from the gunfire.
The 31-year-old man entered the store on West 23rd Street around 2:45 p.m. He exchanged words with a 38-year-old co-worker in the store’s lighting section and then pulled out a gun, shooting the other man in the abdomen and chest, police said. The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The gunman then shot himself in the head, said New York Police Department Capt. Steven Wren. It was unclear what the argument was about, and no identifications were released. A gun was recovered at the scene.
Wren said about 70 employees were in the store, but no one else was injured.
Sigourney Rodriguez, who works nearby, was taking a cigarette break when she saw about 100 people running out of the store. “You hear gunshots, you’re going to run,” she said.
Rodriguez heard store employees saying, “He’s dead, I tell you he’s dead.”
The Home Depot, though smaller than a suburban outpost of the chain, is a megastore by Manhattan standards, and popular with many neighborhood residents.
“This is a beautiful neighborhood and a great store,” said Sara Vogeler, who lives on the next block. “We just bought our Christmas lights here not too long ago. It’s shocking!”
Home Depot issued a statement saying, “We’re deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are fully cooperating with the authorities on their investigation of what appears to have been an isolated incident.”
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