The 31-year-old employee shot the 38-year-old lighting department supervisor three times in the stomach and chest around 2:45 p.m. in the store’s aisle 12 and then shot himself in the head, police said.
A police source identified the shooter as Calvin Esdaile Jr.,who was found dead at the scene with one gunshot wound. His.38-caliber revolver was beside him, police said.
Esdaile’s victim, identified as Moctar Sy by a co-worker, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, but he could not be saved.
“Unfortunately, both persons are deceased,” Detective Steven Warren told reporters outside the Home Depot shortly after the shooting.
Police said the two men had a conversation before the shooting, which witnesses said happened in the lighting section of the store on W. 23rd St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.
“Just as I turned the corner I hear boom, boom, boom and boom,” said Howard Mash, 65, who was shopping for light bulbs with his wife. “At first I thought somebody dropped a box of light bulbs, but the noise was so loud.”
Other witnesses described how the store, packed with shoppers prepping for the upcoming blizzard, was instantly transformed in the moments after the shooting.
“A woman started screaming at the top of her lungs, howling. And then it was like the running of the bulls, everybody just took off,” said Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker of the House, who was shopping for lighting and carpeting when the gunfire broke out.
Esdaile father, Calvin Esdaile Sr., 52, said his son had arrived in the United States from Jamaica in 2006 and lived in Brooklyn.
The shooter had a 6-year-old son, the dad said.
“If it’s him, I’m sorry about this thing, and I’m sorry someone has to die by his hand,” the disbelieving dad said. “It’s a shock to me. I don’t know of him having a violent history.”
A former employee of the big-box hardware store, Alex Pereira, 32, said Esdaile had worked at the store since at least 2011. He also knew the victim.
“I knew them, man. I knew them,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief and crying.
Pereira said he had been told that Esdaile had been fired a couple of days ago, but that report could not initially be confirmed.
He said that he couldn’t believe that Esdaile was capable of such violence.
“This is a shock,” he said. “We always talked and laughed. He was from the Caribbean and I’m From the Caribbean, so we shared that vibe.”