NYPD: Man shot dead near Columbus Circle

Police investigate the crime scene where a man

Police investigate the crime scene where a man was shot and killed on 58th street between Broadway and 7th Avenue in Manhattan. (Dec. 10, 2012) (Credit: Nancy Borowick)

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A man was shot in the head and killed Monday in broad daylight as he walked along a midtown street near Columbus Circle, the NYPD and witnesses said.

A law enforcement source said the victim is from Los Angeles and was 31 years old. Officials are reaching out to the family before releasing his name. "This clearly looks like a hit," said the source.

New York Police Department Police spokesman Eugene White, speaking near the scene of the shooting, said the victim had been shot on 58th Street in front of St. Thomas Choir School, a boarding school for boys, at about 2 p.m. as he walked west.

He added that a gunman approached the victim from behind and shot him in the back of his head before calmly climbing into a parked car and driving off.

In a news release, the NYPD said the gunman -- who wore a hood and khaki pants -- aproached the victim from behind as both walked in front of 202 West 58th Street. "After he fired, the assailant turned around and entered the passenger front seat of a parked light colored, possibly grey or silver auto. The car with an unknown driver proceeded eastbound on West 58th Street and south on 7th Avenue," the news release said.

Jose Villafane Jr. of Brooklyn, a security guard, said he was at his post at a construction site at about 2 p.m., across the street from the scene, when he heard the shot.

"It was a light, faint firecracker sound," he said. "I looked up and crossed the street when I saw this guy lying down and people around him."

He added that one woman became distraught and began screaming as she ran down the street warning people not to walk near the victim, who Villafane described as in his early 30s.

One of the people in the crowd went to a nearby fire house and a firefighter tended to the victim as police officers pulled up and began cordoning off the scene.

With Maria Alvarez

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