Getaway car used in L.A. man's slaying found in Queens, NYPD says
New York police have found the getaway car used in the brazen slaying of a Los Angeles man this week on a busy Manhattan street.
NYPD Officer James Duffy confirmed the Lincoln was found Wednesday in Queens. The car, which was parked and unoccupied, will be examined for evidence and towed to a police facility, Duffy said.
The vehicle had been rented, Duffy said.
Police on both coasts are continuing to investigate the death of Brandon Woodard, 31, of Playa Vista. Detectives from New York arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday, sources said.
Shortly after 11 a.m., two LAPD detectives arrived in the quiet upper-class neighborhood to update family members on the investigation. An older woman escorted the officers through a white security gate and past a koi pond before disappearing into the home.
After a 10-minute discussion, the officers emerged. They referred all questions to NYPD, who they said were handling the investigation.
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 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 had 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.
A short time later, a car "similar in description" was seen heading east through the Midtown Tunnel into Queens, police said, where the driver paid the toll with cash.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.
-- Andrew Blankstein, Kate Mather and Angel Jennings