A 20-year-old mother was fatally shot at point-blank range while pushing her baby in a stroller on Manhattan’s Upper East Side on Wednesday, June 29.
NYPD reports the shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. on East 95th Street near Lexington Avenue by the Samuel Seabury Playground. The victim, Azsia Johnson, was pushing her 3-month-old baby in a stroller when a gunman wearing all black approached her from behind and shot her once in the head before running away, according to police. She was taken to Metropolitan Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead. The baby was unharmed.
According to CBS News, police examined cameras in the local area to figure out where the woman was coming from and what might have caused the shooting. Police are also looking into whether the gunman may have had a relationship with Johnson or might be the child’s father.
At a press conference Wednesday evening, Mayor Eric Adams discussed the issue of gun violence, stressing that illegal guns are too accessible.
“This entire day we have been addressing the problem of overproliferation of guns on our street, how readily accessible they are and how there is just no fear in using these guns on innocent New Yorkers,” Adams said. “This is the result of that.”
“These are real lives, when a mother is pushing a baby carriage down the block and is shot at point-blank range, it shows just how this national problem is impacting families. It doesn’t matter if you are on the Upper East Side or East New York, Brooklyn,” the mayor continued.
Wednesday’s murder draws attention to shooting rates that have surged over the past two years in New York City. According to the most recent NYPD data, 197 people have been killed citywide this year. The New York Times reports that, as of Sunday, there have been 624 shootings in 2022 so far.
The shooting also draws attention to domestic violence. NYPD officials confirmed that Johnson filed a domestic violence report in January 2021. Lisa Desort, Johnson’s mother, alleges that her daughter was abused while she was six months pregnant, and stalked by her ex-boyfriend before the shooting, according to NBC New York.
Johnson, who also has a 1-year-old son, was an aspiring pediatric nurse. Before she was shot and killed, Johnson was planning to meet the father of her 3-month-old child to “work things out,” according to police.
Since the killing on Wednesday, a GoFundMe has been created to support Johnson’s two children and her immediate family; more than $8,000 has been raised as of writing. On Friday evening, Johnson’s ex-boyfriend was taken into custody for questioning by the NYPD. No charges have been announced.
“We strongly believe it was not a random shooting, that the victim was targeted, and the Police Department is still conducting an ongoing investigation,” Mayor Adams told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re going to continue to do our job. We’re going to find this person who is guilty of this horrific crime. We’re going to find him and bring him to justice. We need to make sure this innocent person receives the justice we’re asking for.”