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NYPD detectives in L.A. investigating Manhattan shooting

New York Police detectives flew to Los Angeles to investigate the slaying of 31-year-old Brandon Woodard, who was killed this week on a busy Manhattan street when a man fired a single shot at his head.

The NYPD investigators are seeking more information on Woodard's background and his associates, several law enforcement sources told The Times.

So far, police said they don't have a clear motive for Monday's shooting and hope the Los Angeles trip will shed more light on his recent activities, sources said.

Woodard grew up in Ladera Heights, played basketball at the exclusive Campbell Hall private high school in Studio City and graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2003. His stepfather, Rod Wellington, said in an interview Tuesday that Woodard was pursuing a law degree at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law (school officials would not confirm if he was enrolled).

But court records revealed a more complex picture. Woodard has been arrested at least 20 times, according to New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. The arrests include charges of cocaine possession, grand theft and battery against a former spouse.

It was not clear what brought Woodard to New York after he purchased a one-way ticket from California, Kelly said, or where he was going when he left a hotel. Woodard checked into the hotel Sunday and checked out about 1:15 p.m. the next day.

He told his mother he expected to be home Monday.

Police on Tuesday released surveillance video that showed the 31-year-old Playa Vista man walking down 58th Street near Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan. A man standing near a Lincoln sedan pulled a hood over his head as Woodard passed. A short time later, the two passed each other a second time. The man turned, pulled out a gun and shot Woodard at close range in the back of the head with a 9-millimeter pistol. He got back into the Lincoln, which pulled away.

Commissioner Kelly said Monday's crime was particularly surprising, given such a public setting.

"You can characterize it as either being brazen or foolhardy," he said.


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-- Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather in Los Angeles and Tina Susman in New York



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