Police say the 22-year-old victim, identified as Max Moreno, of New Jersey, was shot inside 2 Gold Street just after midnight. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Moreno, a Pace University student, was reportedly shot in the head in an apartment on the 37th floor.
Police were looking for two people who fled the building and may have been headed to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
The suspects are believed to have snuck past the front doorman and burst into Moreno's apartment. Authorities say they heard that Moreno sold marijuana, pushed their way in and demanded the drugs.
"Give me the stuff!" they reportedly yelled, while one pointed a gun. That suspect allegedly pulled the trigger, but the safety was on. Sources say he took it off and fired again, shooting Moreno in the head.
As Moreno's roommate fled the apartment, the suspects followed and badly beat him in the hallway. They then fled the building without being detected.
Moreno had no criminal record .
Pace University president Stephen Friedman issued the following statement:
"Pace University is shocked and deeply saddened by news of the death of Max Moreno, a student from Matawan, N.J. at his off-campus apartment. We extend our community's deepest sympathies to his family members and friends. We are cooperating fully with the New York City Police Department investigation, and urge students and any other members of the Pace community with information related to this tragic incident to come forward promptly to either the New York City police (212-334-0611) or campus security (212-346-1800). All information will be treated confidentially."
The 51-story residential complex where the incident took place was built in 2005 and bills itself as "Downtown Manhattan's most amenity-rich luxury residential rental."