Search intensifies for NYC shooter; video released

NEW YORK Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:00pm EST

A gunman is seen pulling a weapon behind Brandon Lincoln Woodard (R) a moment before Woodward was shot in Manhattan, in this image taken from video and given to the media by the New York City Police Department, December 11, 2012. The shooter, who appears to be bald and may have a beard, exited a late model Lincoln sedan, initially bare-headed, but soon pulled the hood of his jacket over his head. REUTERS/New York City Police Department/Handout

A gunman is seen pulling a weapon behind Brandon Lincoln Woodard (R) a moment before Woodward was shot in Manhattan, in this image taken from video and given to the media by the New York City Police Department, December 11, 2012. The shooter, who appears to be bald and may have a beard, exited a late model Lincoln sedan, initially bare-headed, but soon pulled the hood of his jacket over his head.

Credit: Reuters/New York City Police Department/Handout

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police released video on Tuesday of a suspect they said calmly approached a California man on a crowded Midtown Manhattan street and fatally shot him.

The search intensified for the killer of Brandon Lincoln Woodard, 31, who was walking along West 58th Street near Central Park on Monday afternoon when he was shot from behind by an assailant with a semi-automatic handgun.

The video showed the suspect 10 minutes before the shooting getting out of a late model Lincoln sedan and pulling the hood of his black jacket over his head. Police said the suspect may be bald and wear a beard.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters that Woodward had walked past the suspect twice before the shooting and seemed to get a glimpse of him but did not appear to recognize him.

Police also released a photograph of the suspect drawing what they said was a gun from his jacket pocket. Woodard can be seen walking and looking down at what appears to be a cellphone.

Immediately after the shooting, the suspect calmly returned to the Lincoln, which was idling nearby, and drove off, police said. The driver of the car was also being sought.

The shooting could be characterized as "being brazen or being foolhardy," Kelly said, given the crowds and video cameras in the area.

A car similar in description to the Lincoln was caught on camera going through the Midtown Tunnel toward the New York City borough of Queens after the shooting, Kelly said.

Police said ballistics tests indicated that the gun used in Monday's shooting had been used in a 2009 shooting in southeast Queens during which two men fired 12 shots at a house. No arrests were made in that case.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office said that last year, a man named Brandon Lincoln Woodard with the same birth date as the victim was charged with cocaine possession in California. He has misdemeanor convictions for petty theft and leaving the scene of an accident, she said.

The New York Post reported that police were also investigating an incident in which Woodard claimed to have been assaulted by bodyguards for R&B singer Usher.

Commissioner Kelly said there was evidence suggesting that Woodard was working as some kind of promoter before his death.

(Additional reporting Peter Rudegeair; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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