NEW YORK – A chilling security camera photo shows a gunman approaching a Los Angeles man from behind on a midtown Manhattan block and reaching into his pocket for a pistol moments before he shot the man in the back of the head, police said Tuesday.
The New York Police Department released the photo amid a manhunt for a suspect in the brazen execution-style shooting of Brandon Lincoln Woodard.
Other security camera footage that was also made public shows the same unidentified man, who appears to be bald and have a beard, exit the passenger side of a parked Lincoln sedan on the same block about 10 minutes before the shooting at 2 p.m. Monday. He pulled the hood of his jacket over his head before approaching Woodard.
Why Woodard was targeted remained a mystery, but the killing "was not a random thing as far as we can tell," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday.
The killing occurred on West 58th Street near the Time Warner Center, an area often teaming with car and pedestrian traffic. After the gunfire, the shooter slipped into the same Lincoln sedan and was driven away.
A spokesman for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles said that a student named Brandon Woodard with the same birthday as the victim graduated from the school in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Authorities in Los Angeles also said Woodard had been due back in court on Jan. 22 following his arrest by LA County sheriff's deputies in West Hollywood in April on a felony cocaine possession charge. He had previously pleaded not guilty.
In December 2009, he pleaded no contest in a courtroom in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance to a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run driving. He was sentenced to three years of probation and a day in jail. However, his probation was terminated in January 2011.
In 2008, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of grand theft of property. Prosecutors said he stole items on Feb. 26, 2008 from two upscale markets — a Whole Foods Market and a Gelson's — in Beverly Hills. He was sentenced to nine days of jail and 200 hours of community service.
Associated Press Writer Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.