Gunman who shot ex-girlfriend to death near Manhattan’s Union Square IHOP lay in wait for hours: prosecutors

Gunman who shot ex-girlfriend to death near Manhattan’s Union Square IHOP lay in wait for hours: prosecutors
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The masked gunman who shot his ex-girlfriend to death near Manhattan’s Union Square lay in wait outside the IHOP where she worked for almost five hours before executing her, prosecutors said Sunday.

Clarkson Wilson, 44, lurked outside the chain restaurant’s E. 14th St. location, waiting and pacing until Imani Armstrong, 25, stepped outside about 5 a.m. on Thursday, then pulled on a sweatshirt and mask and followed her, prosecutors allege.

He then ran up behind her near the corner E. 14th St. and Irving Place, shot her once in the back of the head, and fled, Assistant District Attorney Samantha Levitz said at Wilson’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Sunday.

Video recorded him every step of the way, including after the slaying when he ran into a nearby subway station and quickly changed his clothes before taking a train home to Brooklyn, Levitz said.

When police searched Wilson’s home, they found his clothing from the shooting and the outfit he changed into in a garbage bag, Levitz said. Two guns were found in a safe, according to prosecutors.

Wilson stood stoically, wearing the “Street Fighter” video game T-shirt he had on when he was arrested, as Judge Abraham Clott ordered him held without bail Sunday.

Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a bitter domestic squabble between Armstrong and Wilson.

Wilson has a violent criminal history, with eight past arrests, including most recently a 2021 strangulation case, police sources said. Armstrong was not the victim in that case, the sources said.

Public records show he was convicted of attempted robbery in 2000 and spent three years in prison before he was paroled. That parole ended in 2008, records show.

At his arraignment, Levitz described Wilson as a flight risk with access to money. Wilson admits to selling pot, and videos on social media show him with large amounts of weed and cash, the prosecutor said.

Armstrong’s murder was the second slaying in two days in the 13th Precinct, which until then hadn’t seen any homicides all year.

About 12:50 a.m. on Wednesday, a knife-wielding attacker repeatedly stabbed Jamal Burton, 38, during an argument on Seventh Ave. near W. 28th St. in Chelsea. Burton’s killer ran off and has not been caught.