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Victim Reportedly Lured Into Fatal Ambush
Posted by Ivetta Babadjanian on Dec 11, 2012 - 9:29:18 PM
MANHATTAN, N.Y.—Police are investigating what is being called a execution-style murder of a man from Los Angeles on a Manhattan street in New York on Monday, December 11.
At approximately 2 p.m. Brandon Lincoln Woodard was shot once in the back of the head with a silver gun in front of St. Thomas Choir School near the intersection of West 58th Street and Seventh Avenue. Woodard was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to witnesses, the shooter was calm after firing the gun less and walked than 100 feet to the corner where a getaway car was waiting with a driver inside. New York police state Woodard, 31, was lured into an ambush as the suspect stalked him before killing him. The area where the shooting occurred is filled with private surveillance camera and those operated by the police.
Brandon Woodard with his daughter Kristen. Photo courtesy of Facebook.
The surveillance videos show Woodard walking down the street after just having check out of his hotel. The gunman reportedly arrived at least 30 minutes before the shooting and was pacing as he waited. After Woodard got there, he was checking his phone and walked back-and-forth as if looking for an address. The shooter then approached and Woodard caught sight of him when he looked back for a split second. According to police, Woodard did not seem to recognize the shooter and simply looked away.
The suspect is described as a black male of unknown age who was wearing a brown hoodie, a dark coat and khaki pants. The car is described as a late model silver or grey Lincoln MKZ sedan. A vehicle fitting the description was last seen going through the Midtown Tunnel 20 minutes after the shooting.
There is a possible lead in the case as the gun used, a 9mm semiautomatic, was the same weapon from a shooting at a home in Queens on November 22, 2009. Two men had fired at least 12 shots but there were no injuries or arrests. Police have also recovered two phones carried by the victim who also owned a third phone found in his luggage.
Police are investigating the reason behind Woodard's trip to New York who checked into the 6 Columbus Hotel on Sunday. He flew in in from California on a one-way ticket with plans to return next day but police report he had no return ticket.
Sandra and Rodney Wellington, Woodard's mother and stepfather, released a statement on Tuesday urging anyone with information on the killing to contact New York City police detectives.
A still from security cameras showing the suspect pulling a gun from his jacket pocket.
"There are no words to express our shock and sadness in the face of our
family's horrendous tragedy. We eagerly await justice for Brandon," the
statement said. They described him as a "gentle and generous young man," a devoted father and loving son with an interest in sports.
"RIP to my little brother Brandon Woodard. Heartbroken. Executed on the streets of NYC I can't even believe it," tweeted Woodard's brother, Sean Douglas Ward.
Woodard was a native of Los Angeles and graduated from private Campbell Hall High School where he played varsity basketball. He was in the local chapter of Jack and Jill of America which is a national, invitation-only society of middle- and upper-class black families. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University in 2003. More recently, he was a law student at the University of West Los Angeles Law School. He was also a father of a four-year-old girl, Kristen.
Woodard was allegedly a party and club promoter who started his own company, Entourage Entertainment, with a friend. He was known in the Los Angeles party and club scene as he was a regular in the VIP rooms of L.A.'s most exclusive nightspots.
Woodard is reported to have been arrested at least 20 times most of which occurred in California. L.A. county court records indicate that Woodard was convicted of petty theft and urinating in public in 2008. He was also convicted three times in 2009 for grand theft of property, DUI and a hit-and-run involving property. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor hit-and-run charge to which he was sentenced with three years of probation and a day in jail. His probation was terminated in 2011.
His prior convictions for felony petty theft were from Gelsons and Whole Foods in Beverly Hills but were reduced to misdemeanors. He was sentenced to nine days in jail and 200 hours of community service.
Woodard issued a misdemeanor battery summons in September 2004 after a backstage fight with a security officer at a concert at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas strip. The records indicate Woodard failed to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court in October 2004 and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested in April 2008 in Las Vegas based on the warrant. He pleaded guilty and was released after being given credit for time served.
Woodard was arrested by L.A. County sheriff's deputies in West Hollywood in April on a felony cocaine possession charge. He pleaded not guilty and was expected in court in Beverly Hills on January 22.
There has been speculation that the shooting may have been linked to Woodard's mother's business dealings as a mortgage executive since it has been linked to litigation and other troubles. This summer, California authorities revoked her company's license to lend or service mortgages, citing violations of the state financial code. His family indicates this rumor is not true and they were unaware of any enemies or potential threats.
Former "All My Children" star Tonya Pinkins has a website dedicated to Woodard's mother and her business practice. Her companies United Mortgage and United Mortgage Solutions have been involved in numerous lawsuits. The website question's Wellington education and displays the dismissal of her case lawsuit against the website. Pinkins is now stating she is not surprised by Woodard's murder.
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