Man shot dead outside school near Central Park

3:57 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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The shooting occurred around 2 p.m. outside the Saint Thomas Choir School, a small boarding school for young boys on a fairly quiet street between busy avenues teeming with tourists and shoppers.

The 31-year-old victim, who apparently lived outside the city, was walking west on 58th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.

The gunman, wearing a dark coat with a dark hood and khaki pants, came up behind him and fired what appeared to be a silver semi-automatic pistol, striking him once, Browne said.

It's believed that the shooter and the getaway driver may have been in the neighborhood, just blocks from Columbus Circle and Central Park, for some time. They escaped in a light grey or silver Lincoln sedan.

There was no known connection to the school, Browne said.

None of the 38 boys studying at the school witnessed the shooting because they were at a church rehearsing, school receptionist Allie Roma said.

"We didn't hear the gunshots, but we saw the flashing lights," Roma said.

Roma said to her it appeared the man had been shot in the face.

"The body was on the sidewalk," Roma said by telephone before she was interrupted by someone who told her to hang up, which she did.

The killing occurred on a nondescript, unassuming block, with construction scaffolding, a piano store and an apartment building at the corner. The site is near the Time Warner Center, two connected skyscrapers that have appeared in numerous movies and television shows.

Witness Jose Villafane, on his first day working security across the street from the school, said he didn't notice anything until he heard what sounded like a firecracker or a car backfiring. Villafane, of Brooklyn, said he then saw the wounded man on the ground with blood on his face.

Another man, an onlooker, banged on the door of a nearby fire station, seeking help. A woman who ran down the street appeared to get into the ambulance with the victim, Villafane said.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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