Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
Security video released by New York police show a brazen, execution-style hit on a California law student near Central Park, but sheds little light so far on who did it and why.
The killer, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, lingers on the sidewalk for at least 30 minutes Monday afternoon before the victim, Brandon Woodard, 31, of Playa Vista, Calif., walks by twice.
The gunman, whose getaway driver is parked by the curb, pulls a 9mm semi-automatic weapon from his pocket and shoots Woodard in the back of the head, killing him.
Woodard at one point appears to look back at the gunman for a split second, but looks away again after "showing no sign of recognition," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters Tuesday.
After the shooting, the killer's driver pulls a Lincoln sedan away from the curb into 58th St. near Central Park. The gunman, who appears to be bald and have a beard, gets in and the car pulls away.
Based on the videotape, Kelly said detectives suspect that Woodard was lured into the ambush shortly after he checked out of a nearby hotel, where he apparently stayed only one night.
Kelly called the crime "either brazen or foolhardy," considering the public setting.
The Los Angeles Times described Woodard as a 2003 graduate of Loyola Marymount University who, according to his stepfather, was pursuing a law degree at the University of West Los Angeles.
Kelly said Woodard had been arrested at least 20 times, including after a backstage scuffle with a security guard at an Usher concert in 2004 in Las Vegas.
The Times also reported that Woodard served nine days in county jail for stealing items from a Whole Foods Market in 2008.
He had also been taken into custody in connection with a spousal battery incident and was scheduled to appear in a Beverly Hills court in January for a hearing on a single charge of cocaine possession.
Police said the suspect's car went through the midtown tunnel to Queens after the shooting. Kelly said ballistics linked the gun in the Woodard shooting to an incident in Queens in 2009 in which a gun discharged in a residence. The Daily News reported that two men were involved, but no one was hurt and no arrests were made.