The NYPD has released a photo taken from surveillance video just moments before a man was gunned down on a busy New York street in broad daylight Monday.
Witnesses say the man shot Brandon Lincoln Woodard in the back of the head then cooly hopped into a waiting SUV, with a driver behind the wheel. The light-colored Lincoln sedan headed east before getting stuck in traffic just yards from Woodard’s body.
But the assailant and his driver did not panic. The SUV idled at a red light until traffic cleared and then disappeared down 7th Avenue.
“There was no rush,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said of Woodard’s killer. “He just walked up, shot him and walked away.”
The assailant, described as a bald black man with a beard, walked up behind Woodard on 58th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway at about 2 p.m., and fired a single shot into the back of his head.
In the photo, Woodard appears to be checking his cell phone before he was executed.
Witnesses who heard the gunshot scattered in all directions. Several witnesses rushed to a nearby fire station to report the shooting.
“I just heard a gunshot. It was loud. There was blood all over his face,” said David Mirambeau, 29, a UPS worker. “He was gasping for air. He was still alive.”
Police recovered a single shell casing in the street near Woodard’s body.
A police source told the NY Post the shooting was “definitely a hit, an assassination.” Police are investigating the murder as drug connected.
The NY Post reports that Woodard was “charged with cocaine possession in California last June and has prior arrests for robbery, petty theft and leaving the scene of an accident.”
Police are also investigating Woodard’s connections to the music industry. He once claimed he was “roughed up” by bodyguards for R&B singer Usher Raymond.
Family friend Chrissy Roussel remembered Woodard as “a wonderful man with a kind heart, smart, good person.”
Woodard’s father, J. Lincoln Woodard, 72, said, “It was a shock.”
Woodard worked at United International Mortgage, an LA firm founded by his mother, Sandra McBeth-Reynolds.
He was in New York visiting friends.