NEW YORK (AP) — Police on Thursday continued an aggressive manhunt for a gunman and a getaway driver who ambushed and killed a Los Angeles man in midtown Manhattan, saying they're following multiple leads and have searched the victim's home for clues.
The push came amid published reports that the New York Police Department had identified the driver. Officials dismissed the reports, saying they consider the driver a possible witness who has run the risk of working with a stone-cold triggerman.
The reports, "though erroneous, nevertheless (put) the driver's life in real jeopardy because an accomplished killer may want to eliminate him as a potential witness before he's in police custody," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
Earlier, Commissioner Raymond Kelly also insisted police hadn't identified any suspects in the execution-style slaying of Brandon Lincoln Woodard on a street about a block from Central Park or determined why he was targeted.
"We're not in a position to state a motive," Kelly said following a groundbreaking ceremony at Manhattan College.
Kelly confirmed that police had executed a search warrant at Woodard's California home, but he refused to say if anything useful was found.
Police want to know who lured Woodard to the block where he was ambushed on Monday afternoon. A security video shows Woodard walking back and forth and looking down at his smartphone moments before his death, suggesting he'd been directed there by text or email.
Other footage shows the gunman walking up behind Woodard and, without a word, pressing the barrel of a pistol to the back of his head. In one fluid motion, the killer fires one round and immediately slips into a rented Lincoln sedan as a getaway driver pulls away.