GOWANUS — A man rejected for an ironworks job shot two welders and then used a pipe bomb to hold police at bay for two hours before committing suicide, witnesses and police sources said.
Cameron Waithe, 54, walked into C & A Ironworks about 11:15 a.m. wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a floppy fisherman's hat, and asked for a job, sources said. He was directed upstairs to the management office at 65 13th St., where he was rebuffed, sources said.
Enraged, Waithe opened fire on staffers with a 9 mm gun, striking two welders, police said.
"There were about five shots. He started shooting and put the gun to [one victim's] chest and everyone was running," said staffer Dmitry Tabakin, 28, who said he and the other workers had to duck for cover. "He started shooting about 5 minutes after he walked in."
The men were rushed to Lutheran Medical Center in critical condition, police said.
Waithe then hunkered down in a utility room and held off police for nearly two hours — at one point hurling a "crude" pipe bomb at officers assembled outside, police and witnesses said.
The bomb did not detonate, police said.
Hostage negotiators eventually convinced the man to toss them the keys to his van, where he kept a shotgun.
The standoff came to an end when the gunman shot himself in the head at 1:15 p.m., sources and officials said.
There were "45 minutes of dialogue and, unprovoked, he shot himself," said Lt. Jack Cambria, head of the NYPD hostage negotiation team. "We thought the dialogue was positive."
Stunned shoppers at a nearby Pathmark supermarket ran for cover when they heard the shooting.
Victor Lopez, 66, was with his daughter, wheeling a shopping cart into the store when he heard the shots.
"As soon as the door opened, I heard bang, bang and I ran inside," he said. "Nobody knew what happened. People were scared. I was scared."