The man lured into an ambush and caught on tape in what came to be known as the “Midtown execution” slaying, Brandon Woodard, could have been conversing with his killer via text or phone call moments before the murder, cops say.
Police indicate a text may have lured the man into the ambush-style shooting, noting that in the clip, Woodard, 31, appears to receive a call or text and change course, heading for the car in which his killer lay in wait.
The execution-like murder stunned New Yorkers and the many who viewed the man lured to his death in the ambush on YouTube, where video of Woodard’s last moments were broadcast in hopes of identifying his murderer. When the clip went viral yesterday, it was reported police had taken a “person of interest” who may have been a friend of the gunman into custody for questioning, but the man — who has not been identified — has been released, his mother confirms:
“The cops apologized to him. My son is home. He didn’t do anything. He is innocent.”
The car used to lure the young man into the deadly ambush has been located in Queens, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, and a woman is believed to have rented the vehicle used to carry out the slaying.
As the clip ricocheted across the web, police also say much of Woodard’s behavior — including the precipitate for his trip from Los Angeles to New York — remains a mystery. Sources indicate in the day ahead of the murder, the victim behaved in an unusual and uneasy manner, and Fox News explains:
“The Post reports Woodard spent his first night in the city watching a football game and going to dinner with a woman. Witnesses who saw him at breakfast the next morning said he appeared nervous and was looking over his shoulder… He then out of his hotel and waited for a cab, but left suddenly, saying that he had to go to a bank, a hotel employee told the Post.”
If police have discovered how the man was lured into the ambush, they have not yet made that information publicly available.