A 31-year-old law student from California was shot in the head at point blank range in the middle of Manhattan on Monday, the New York Daily News reports.
Brandon Lincoln Woodard was walking west on W. 58th St. near Central Park when a hoodie-clad man walked calmly from behind and shot him. Woodard was apparently reading or sending a text on his phone before being shot. The shooter walked some 60 feet before stepping inside of a Lincoln MKZ sedan, which another person drove down Seventh Ave., according to the New York Police Department. The car eased slowly in to traffic and even stopped at a light, according to a witness cited in a New York Times report.
The shooting was caught on surveillance video, which the NYPD released. (The actually shooting was cut from the video released to the public)
There is no known motive behind Woodard’s killing. Nothing was taken from the victim and no words were exchanged, making police suspect the shooting was targeted, or, more specifically, a hit.
The victim reportedly walked out of the 6 Columbus hotel, where suites cost $850 a night. It is not clear if he stayed at the hotel. Woodard’s criminal record is coming to light as authorities are piecing together the events that lead to his death. The Los Angeles Times reports that Woodard had several run-ins with the law:
Woodard was convicted of grand theft, a DUI and a hit-and-run involving property, all in 2009, according to Los Angeles Superior Court records. He was convicted of petty theft in 2008 and urinating in public in 2006.
Officials with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Woodard was due in Beverly Hills Superior Court on Jan. 22 for a hearing in connection with a single charge of cocaine possession. He was originally charged last June.
He was arrested by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s station in West Hollywood. He had prior convictions for felony petty theft from Gelson’s and Whole Foods that were reduced misdemeanors, prosecutors said.
The Daily News reports that he got into a scuffle with bodyguard of R&B star Usher at a Los Vegas concert in 2004. Despite his criminal past, Woodard was currently enrolled in law school.
The Associated Press reports that a person fitting the description of Woodard earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The New York Times reports that the victim “had recently transferred to the University of West Los Angeles Law School from Whittier Law School.”