NYPD Detectives spent hours Wednesday grilling a man they thought had some connection to the getaway vehicle used in Monday’s execution style killing of Brandon Woodard. It is unclear whether or not police had believe he acted as the driver or the shooter.
Earlier Wednesday, license plate readers and a tip gave police the clues they needed to track the getaway car — a rental Lincoln MKZ picked up at an Avis car dealership located at LaGuardia Airport, according to police sources — to Rosedale, Queens. And that lead them to two individuals who rented the car, a man and a woman.
Late Wednesday they released the man that the family of Woodard was hoping was connected to the shooting so they could get some kind of justice. Police Commissioner Kelly saying detectives were able to find the ditched car in Queens using the “ring of steel” technology of license plate readers. The car is now in the NYPD’s possession and being swabbed for DNA and other clues that could lead them to the shooter.
At first look on surveillance video, the precise and cold blooded murder of Woodard was calculated and clean. But as clues are sussed out by keen detective work, it is not as perfect as the killer may have thought.
“It was meticulously done. The killer knew where his victim was going,” says Det. Sgt. Wally Zeins, retired from the NYPD as he watches the surveillance video. And he provides more insight into the victim. “One of the things about drug dealers is they have a lot of cell phones. Our victim? Had three.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly briefed reporters Wednesday afternoon. “On the film he appears to be looking at his phone. Obviously we are interested in what information was on the phone at that time.” The victim had two phones on him when he was killed; one more was packed in his luggage left at his swank midtown hotel, 6 Columbus.
And that single bullet fired on 58th Street matched casings found at the Queens scene of a drive-by shooting three years ago in St. Albans, Queens. The bullet holes still remain at 189-11 Mangin Avenue.
The other big break in this case: police tracked the getaway car to a South Jamaica, Queens neighborhood early this morning. They swooped in and now have it garaged, awaiting a court order to let them scour the interior for clues.
Meanwhile, a possible overhead NYPD search was spotted in the same neighborhood as the abandoned car. One of the NYPD’s helicopters was circling overhead as this investigation heats up.
Meanwhile, there continues to be much investigation into the 31 year old Woodard’s life. The father of a 5 year old girl flew to New York early Sunday on a one way ticket. He’s a law student, but working the club and hip hop scene and has a record of 20 arrests, including a coke bust that would have put him back in court in LA next month.
“If you put all this stuff together, it makes me think that either he might be an informant or they were worried he didn’t want to pay up on a drug deal,” theorized Zeins.
DAN MANNARINO CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT