Updated 8:12 p.m. A man was shot in the head and killed Monday in broad daylight as he walked along a street near Columbus Circle, the NYPD and witnesses said.
A law enforcement source said the slaying, which happened around 2 p.m., was not a random act.
"This clearly looks like a hit," said the source.
The NYPD identified the victim as Brandon Lincoln Woodard, 31, of Los Angeles.
NYPD spokesman Eugene White said the victim was shot as he was walking down West 58th Street in front of St. Thomas Choir School, a school for boys.
Security guard Jose Villafane Jr. said he was at his post at a construction site across the street from the scene at about 2 p.m. 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."
Firefighters at a nearby station rushed out to help Woodard after hearing the screams. The victim was taken to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, where he died, officials said.
The NYPD said the gunman, dressed in a dark jacket and khaki pants, approached the victim from behind as both walked in front of the school.
"After he fired, the assailant turned around and entered the passenger front seat of a parked light-colored, possibly gray or silver, auto. The car with an unknown driver proceeded eastbound on West 58th Street and south on 7th Avenue," the NYPD said.
Investigators were reviewing surveillance footage of the shooting, a police spokesman said.
Students had to remain inside their classes for hours while cops surveyed the scene and looked for additional clues. The victim's clothes and a pool of blood remained in front of the school's entrance during the afternoon and evening hours.