31-year-old Los Angeles resident Brandon Lincoln Woodard appeared to be looking for an address when he was fatally shot in the head on 58th Street yesterday afternoon, according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. "As the deceased is walking down 58th he appears to be looking down at his phone for an address…he looks over his shoulder and gets a glimpse of the suspect, and it appears that he does not recognize him." Kelly also told reporters today that the 9mm bullet used in the shooting matches the shell casing of a bullet used in a 2009 non-fatal shooting in the 113th Precinct in Queens. "We're still trying to sort out that connection."
In a release, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne notes that the shooting occurred on November 22, 2009, when two men fired 12 bullets that hit two front windows, a door frame, a side window, and the house's siding. There were no injuries or arrests.
A Lincoln MKX similar to the one the suspect climbed into before driving away was spotted after it passed through the Midtown tunnel around 2:15 p.m. but no license plate match has been made just yet.
The commissioner said that Woodard, who is enrolled as a student at the University of West Los Angeles Law School, checked into the 6 Columbus Hotel at 308 West 58th Street around 5 p.m. on Sunday, and checked out around 1:15 PM on Monday. Woodard did not book a return flight home, and was carrying three cellphones—one in his luggage and two on his person. "None of the phones were, as you'd say, disposable phones," Kelly said, adding that one was a flip phone and the others, smartphones.
Woodard also had "at least 20 prior arrests," all in California, many for narcotics possession and one for a hit-and-run incident. "He spent very little time in jail for those offenses," Kelly said. Police were conducting interviews with the people Woodard had met while in New York, but Kelly declined to identify any of them, pending the results of the investigation. When a reporter asked if Woodard had visited the city to meet a woman, Kelly responded, "We're still looking into that as part of the investigation."