A man visiting Manhattan was killed in an apparent hit on Monday afternoon near Columbus Circle. The man died of a single gunshot wound to the back of his head. The attack occurred in broad daylight and took the life of Brandon Woodard, who had previously studied law at Whittier Law School and had transferred at another law school to pursue his law degree. Brandon was from Los Angeles.
A silver semiautomatic pistol was used in the shooting, which took place in front of St. Thomas Choir School, which is located on W. 58th St. near Seventh Ave., according to the New York Daily News. Woodard, who has a criminal record, died of the gunshot wound at Roosevelt Hospital.
“This is a shock,” said the victim’s father, Lincoln Woodard, 72. “He was a very good son, loving.”
The incident occurred around 2 p.m. and caused panic for hundreds of shoppers and tourists not far from Central Park. Woodard was walking west on W. 58th St. when his attacker approached behind him from out of nowhere.
“The shooter walked up behind him and shot him at close range,” said Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman. “He just walked up, shot him and walked away.”
Browne said that the assassin walked 60 feet and got into a Lincoln MKZ sedan, which was driven by another person down Seventh Ave. The incident was caught on tape by a security camera. According to a receptionist, the victim checked out of the 6 Columbus hotel not long before the attack happened.
Woodard has a criminal record, including a fight with a bodyguard for Usher at a concert in Las Vegas in 2004. He claimed that the bodyguard gave him such a bad wedgie that he bled. “That was one of the more creative descriptions of getting thrown out of a place I have ever heard,” the bodyguard, Elijah Shaw, said Monday night. Woodard has also served time for battery.
Police said that Woodard was scheduled for a court appearance on January 22 in Beverly Hills for felony cocaine possession. Woodard pled no contest to a felony and a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge. He also pled guilty in 2008 to two misdemeanor counts of theft for stealing items from a Whole Foods market. Woodard was wanted in 2009 for theft of wine from a store in Los Angeles. He led police on a chase through a neighboring town and was able to escape.
Woodard earned his degree from the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2003. He then studied law for two semesters at Whittier Law School and had transferred at another law school to continue his studies. One source mentioned that police are looking into connections with work he has done in the industry of entertainment law.
Sadet Kolo, a witness who was skateboarding close to the murder scene, said, “It came out of nowhere. I called 911 and told him ‘Hang on. Help is on the way.’ He was talking a little. Or trying to. He was alive for a good two minutes. Poor bastard. I didn’t even see a shooter.”