Brandon Woodard: Legislation pupil murdered in New York avenue had high-flying Los Angeles way of life
Parties with athletes and movie stars, an argument with Usher and an A-list mom: the law student’s glamorous LA lifestyle running on a New York street
- Brandon Woodard, 31, came from a wealthy, well-connected family in Los Angeles and attended exclusive private schools
- As a party and night club promoter, he became an integral part of LA nightlife and socialized with professional athletes and movie stars
- However, Woodard had a dark side and had at least 20 arrests on his criminal record – including robbery and cocaine possession
- Police reportedly interviewed a suspect in the shooting and recovered the getaway car
- Investigation into whether Woodard was lured to his death by text message
The law student murdered on a busy street in New York City was the son of a wealthy businesswoman and traveled in elite circles in his hometown of Los Angeles.
Brandon Woodard, 31, attended top private schools, drove a Land Rover, and partied with professional athletes and movie stars – he reportedly once got into an argument with Usher’s bodyguards.
Despite his parentage, Woodard also had a dark side. He was arrested 20 times – including for robbery and cocaine possession – and friends called him “Batman” because they were never sure what was really going on in his life.
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Moment of the attack: Brandon Woodard is seen texting his cell phone before his killer on the left pulls a gun out of his pocket and shoots him in the head in broad daylight
Victim: Brandon Woodard reportedly tried to reverse a life of crime after being arrested on a series of charges and studying law
New York police reportedly arrested a suspect in Woodard’s brutal murder on Wednesday and questioned him about the brazen shooting in the crowded city of Midtown near Columbus Circle.
The New York Post reports that the detained man is one of several people interested in the case. He was picked up in Rosedale, Queens.
Detectives have identified drugs as a possible motive for the killing.
Woodard’s murder shocked the city because of its cold, calculated efficiency. The surveillance footage released by the NYPD shows the shooter walking after Woodard and shooting him once in the back of the head.
Related: Sandra Wellington, Woodard’s mother, is a successful Los Angeles businesswoman
A source said the post Office that Woodard might have been lured to the site by a text message or a phone call.
He allegedly passed the getaway car on West 58th Street and the driver pointed him out to the shooter, the source said.
The victim then reversed directions and walked back to their attacker after receiving a text message or a phone call, and the shooter then snuck up behind them, the source said.
The gunman didn’t pause or panic as he turned and left Woodward to die in a pool of blood – he simply got into a waiting Lincoln MKX getaway car and fled the scene.
Police found the rental car in Queens on Wednesday and spoke to the couple who rented it.
The Post reports that detectives didn’t believe the two were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, but may have loaned it to the assassins.
Woodard grew up privileged in Los Angeles. His mother, Sandra Wellington, owns the once successful United International Mortgage. Other family members are well-connected lawyers and entrepreneurs, reports the New York Times.
Ms. Wellington is married to former soap star Tonya Pinkins’ ex-boyfriend, who claims the family is involved in criminal business.
Ms. Pinkins, who starred in All My Child and won a Tony Award for Jelly’s Last Jam, says the murder may be linked to Ms. Wellington, according to Showbiz 411.
Star Power: Woodard once claimed he was involved in an argument with Usher’s bodyguards. His mother Sandra Wellington was in a long-standing argument with Tonya Pinkins (right), who starred in “All My Children”.
“We’ve been waiting for something like this,” she told the gossip site.
Pinkins was involved in a longstanding argument with Mrs. Wellington and her husband Rod, the father of Mrs. Pinkins’ daughter.
Police on Tuesday refused to comment on whether they are investigating Woodard’s mother’s business in connection with the shooting.
Ms. Wellington could not be reached Wednesday evening to comment on the allegations.
Woodard attended private Campbell Hall High School, where he was a star basketball player.
He was a member of the exclusive Jack and Jill of America society, which is only for invitations and is aimed at upper-class black families.
Family: Woodard, seen here with his five-year-old daughter, came from a wealthy family – but continued his tough lifestyle until his death
For college, he attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, a private school for $ 55,000 a year.
Family members say he is a sophomore law student at the law school at the University of West Los Angeles, another private school.
He drove a Range Rover in college, friends of the Times said.
More recently, he’s had his eye on buying a Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG, a luxury car with a base price of $ 153,000.
Friends say he worked as a party and nightclub promoter.
In clubs he threw large coins around on expensive alcohol and private tables – and partied with actors and athletes.
He once bragged about being beaten up by the bodyguards for R&B Prince Usher, the Post reports.
Sadet Kolo, 36, who was skateboarding near the victim, told the New York Daily News: “It came out of nowhere. I turned and saw a man on the floor next to me. I called 911 and said to him, “Wait. Help is on the way.”
Intent: The gunman can be seen in khakis and a dark top loitering next to the gray car while he waits for his victim to walk down the street
Woodard’s neighbors often complained about the noise from his noisy parties.
But beneath the seemingly enchanted life, friends say, Woodard has a darker side. He continued partying hard into his 30s even when his friends started settling down. Woodard also has a five year old daughter.
Woodard also had a long criminal record – at least 20 arrests.
He has been arrested several times for stealing in upscale grocery stores – including in 2009 when he was arrested for robbery after fighting a security guard.
He’s also had cocaine arrests.
In the summer, Ms. Wellington’s United International Mortgage company was stripped of its lending power by California regulators. The company is also the target of numerous fraud and breach of contract lawsuits.
Friends say Woodard had a girlfriend in New York, but no one knows why he was visiting the city.
A friend told the Times, “He lived a little Batman-ish – a little mysterious.”
VIDEO: Suspect at the scene minutes before Brandon Woodward was shot.