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Manhattan 'Hit' Suspect Caught On CCTV

The victim of a brazen ambush on a midtown Manhattan sidewalk may have been lured there before the killing, police say.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Tuesday that Brandon Lincoln Woodard was walking back and forth and checking his phone for messages before a gunman walked up and shot him in the back of the head.

Mr Kelly said security video indicates the unidentified killer had been waiting in a car parked on the same block at least a half hour before the attack.

Police have appealed for help to find the man security footage shows pulling a gun from his pocket just moments before killing Mr Woodard with a single shot.

The unidentified suspect made off in a car parked nearby.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it "was not a random thing as far as we can tell".

Witnesses described hearing what sounded like a car backfiring before seeing Mr Woodard, 31, on the ground with blood pouring from his face.

"It came out of nowhere," Sadet Kolo told the New York Daily News. "I turned around and saw a man next to me, on the ground. I called 911 and told him 'Hang on. Help is on the way.'"

"He was bleeding bad," Mr Kolo added. "Blood was gushing out of his eyeball, his nose, mouth, everywhere. He was talking a little. Or trying to. He was alive for a good two minutes."

The suspect was believed to be bald with a beard. He was wearing a dark coat with a dark hood and combat trousers, and escaped in a light grey or silver Lincoln sedan.

Police said Mr Woodward had been arrested previously in Los Angeles, with the NY1 news website reporting he had faced cocaine possession and hit-and-run charges.

His family said he graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2003 and had attended Whittier Law School in California.