Cops questioning 'person of interest' in Columbus Circle killing: Source
Updated 6:31 p.m. Barely 48 hours after Brandon Lincoln Woodard was gunned down in Manhattan, police were questioning a "person of interest" in the brutal Midtown murder Monday, a law enforcement source said.
The man being questioned is not under arrest but may have been involved somehow with the people who carried out the hit in which one shot from a 9mm handgun was fired into the back of the 31-year-old Woodard's head on 58th Street.
Earlier yesterday, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly indicated that the car had been rented and was found parked on a Queens street after a mobile police license plate scanner got a hit.
Police already had the vehicle license plate number from surveillance video images taken at the time Woodard was killed.
Investigators also have video images of what they believe to be the car leaving Manhattan through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel about 25 minutes after Woodard was killed.
The source said the person of interest, who is male, was taken into custody for questioning this afternoon in Queens and is still being questioned. He has not been arrested.
The source stressed that investigators also want to speak with other people they think may be involved in the crime.
The renters of the rental car are not considered suspects, the source said, but detectives are investigating whether they loaned the car to anyone who played a role in planning the crime.
He said a team of NYPD detectives were in Los Angeles working with LAPD detectives to delve into the victim's background and interview relatives, friends and business associates in an effort to identify who may have wanted him killed and why.
He also said forensic tests are being done on the getaway car.
The rapid developments come as investigators on two coasts teamed up to search for a suspect and a motive in the execution-style slaying of the Los Angeles man in broad daylight in midtown Manhattan.
A video and photograph released Tuesday show a gunman pulling out his pistol seconds before killing the entertainment promoter near Columbus Circle -- using a gun that matches one used in a 2009 Queens shooting, police said.
The video, shown by the NYPD, reveals the gunman pulling the hood of his jacket over his head before calmly walking up to the victim, who appears to either be typing or reading a text message -- possibly from the killer. The photo shows the gunman taking out the pistol just before the Monday killing.
Police spokesman Paul Browne also said ballistics testing on the bullet's casing shows the gun was the same 9-mm semiautomatic pistol used Nov. 22, 2009, to fire 12 shots at a home on Mangin Avenue in Queens. No one was hurt.