A 31-year-old aspiring rapper from L.A. was fatally shot in broad daylight in a touristy area of Midtown Manhattan yesterday. Accounts indicate it was a professional-style hit.
Brandon Woodard, a Loyola Marymount University grad and perennial law school student with a possible arrest record was described in reports as a New York visitor who was gunned down about 2 p.m. on W. 58th Street near Seventh Avenue just down the street from Columbus Circle. Onlookers were shocked:
The New York Times put together this narrative, based on information from New York police spokesman Paul J. Browne:
The gunman approached Mr. Woodard walking west on 58th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues before raising a silver semiautomatic pistol and firing a single shot at close range into his head, Mr. Browne said.
He then turned and walked a few steps to a light-colored sedan parked at the curb, Mr. Browne said; a driver was waiting, and the gunman then climbed into the passenger seat. The car drove east, then turned south toward Times Square.
“There was no rush,” Mr. Browne said. “He just walked up, shot him and walked away.”
The New York Daily News described that getaway car as a gray Lincoln MKZ sedan. The paper said the gunman walked away coolly for 60 feet before getting in the car.
The publication, calling it a “shocking apparent hit in front of Saint Thomas Choir School,” said Woodard was shot in the back of the head.
The Times interviewed Sedat Kolo, a 36-year-old pedicab driver who said he witnessed the attack:
I told him 'Hang on, breath easy.' He was trying to say something, but blood kept coming out of his mouth. There was blood all over. Then he lost consciousness.
Woodard was rushed to two hospitals, the Daily News stated, and died at the second one with “part of his face blown off.”
The news site NY1.com said Woodard was an aspiring rapper.
Fox 11 News went to the Playa Vista condo complex where he lived. One neighbor told the station the victim's place was the subject of numerous early morning noise complaints.
“Many times the police had to be called,” a neighbor told the station.
Fox 11 said Woodard got behind on his homeowners dues at one point but that his mom, perhaps the condo's owner, bailed him out. The New York Times reports that Woodard's dad is a retired lawyer. He told the paper he didn't know what his son was doing in New York.
After the jump, reports of a criminal record:
The Daily News says Woodard had a young daughter. The paper also reported he has a criminal record. NY1.com said his record includes a cocaine-possession arrest and a hit-and-run conviction.
Fox 11 reported that Woodard claimed to have been roughed up by pop singer Usher's bodyguards in 2004 and that two women once called the LAPD to claim they had been taken to Woodard's place in what they described as a kidnapping.
The station said the LAPD determined it wasn't a case of kidnapping and gave the pair a ride back to Hollywood.
Fox said that at the time of the Usher claim Woodard said he was a law school student.
The station expressed some doubt that he still is, though the Times reported that Whittier Law School confirmed he had been enrolled there, apparently recently.
Woodard's dad told the paper he transferred recently to West Los Angeles Law School — perhaps the University of West Los Angeles – School of Law.
Motive was a mystery as cops in New York continued to investigate.
[Update at 2:22 p.m.]: An acquaintance who did not want to be named disputed reports stating that Woodard was an aspiring rapper, saying he did not want a career in hip-hop.