Detectives in Manhattan were seeking a person of interest for questioning in the execution-style slaying of a 20-year-old mother of two on an Upper East Side street Wednesday evening in what may be a domestic dispute, NYPD officials said.
The victim, identified by police as Azsia Johnson of Staten Island, was gunned down from behind at point blank range around 8:25 p.m. as she pushed a baby stroller with her 3-month-old daughter on East 95 Street by Samuel Seabury Playground, a popular recreation spot in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood, according to police.
Johnson, who also has a 2-year-old child, was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. The infant in the stroller was unharmed but also taken to the hospital for evaluation, police said.
According to a law enforcement official, a man dressed in black approached Johnson, fired one shot and then fled the scene east on 95th Street.
Video does show the suspect fleeing the scene and the gun was so close to Johnson that there were powder burns on her face, an official who did not wish to be identified said.
The killing was another highly publicized crime in a city where bloodshed, despite the fact that shootings and murders are slightly down from 2021, has been making headlines on an almost daily basis. After the shooting, Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell held a brief street-corner news conference in which they noted that, even in the face of major gun trafficking initiatives, violence is not being deterred.
“There is just no fear in using these guns against innocent New Yorkers,” Adams said. “We are going to find this person guilty of this horrific crime. We are going to find him and bring him to justice."
Lisa Desort, identified in reports as the mother of Johnson, said that her pregnant daughter had been pushed earlier this year by the infant’s father in an incident in Queens and that the matter had been reported to a local precinct.
“No one protected my daughter and now she is dead,” Desort said, according to various reports. Desort couldn’t be reached for comment late Thursday. An NYPD spokesman didn’t return a request for comment about Desort’s allegations.
So far in 2022, shootings around the city were down 12% from 2021, while homicides have dipped almost 13%. However, all serious crimes were up nearly 38% over last year, according to police data.