Police say someone sent a text message to Brandon Lincoln Woodard, 31, luring him out of the safety of his swanky midtown hotel -- and into the path of a killer.
Surveillance video shows the killer emerging from the passenger side of a silver Lincoln MKZ sedan parked on West 58th Street. But he was about 20 minutes early.
Woodard, of Los Angeles, checked out of the swanky 6 Columbus Hotel in midtown and walked east -- right past the man who was waiting to kill him. Police theorize that the assassin allowed Woodard to pass because foot traffic was heavy at the time.
Had Woodard kept walking he might have lived. But he reversed his direction and headed back west in the direction of the gunman. Police believe Woodard received a text message from the gunman's getaway driver, who pointed him out to the gunman.
As Woodard walked by, distracted by his iPhone, the gunman crept up behind him and fired a single shot into the back of his head.
“Right as he points the gun at [Wooddard’s] head, he turns away as if he’s anticipating blood spatter,” a source told the NY Post.
Cops are investigating a link to a NY area party planner who was involved in the unsolved murders of 3 men outside of a party in Queens last November. Investigators counted 63 shell casings left behind at the scene of the murders. One of Woodard's phones traced back to the party planner.
Cops took a 40-year-old man into custody outside his Rosedale, Queens, home yesterday. Earlier in the day, police located the getaway vehicle abandoned in Queens. They were able to find the car so quickly due to new technology in use in post-9/11 New York -- mobile license-plate readers that move silently around the city.
Sources tell the NY Daily News that the Queens man is the boyfriend of a woman who rented the getaway car.
Police believe the man knew the getaway driver. But after 4 hours of grilling the man was released. “The cops apologized to him. My son is home. He didn’t do anything. He is innocent,” the man’s mother told the NY Post last night.
The woman who rented the getaway vehicle was also questioned and released. She told police she loaned the car to a friend, who handed the car keys to someone else.
Sources believe that the killers had the woman rent the getaway car for them.
Cops are investigating Woodard's ties to the music industry. He once claimed he was roughed up by bodyguards working for R&B singer Usher. Woodard leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.
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