Police have arrested a man for the killing of a young mom who was shot in the head while walking her 3-month-old baby in a stroller in New York City this week.
A senior law enforcement official confirmed the arrest to The Daily Beast, identifying the suspect as the baby’s father. Police have not officially released the name of the man, who was apprehended by United States Marshals and the New York Police Department Fugitive Task Force.
The arrest comes two days after the brutal killing of 20-year-old Azsia Johnson sent shockwaves across the city. The young mom, an aspiring nurse, was shot in the head near the corner of Lexington Ave. and 95th Street on Wednesday night by an assailant seen on surveillance footage wearing a black hoodie and sweatpants. He approached her from behind before firing the fatal shot.
The official said Johnson had been preparing to meet with the baby’s father that evening, and had actually texted a relative just before she was killed to say she could already see him in the area.
“He’s here. I see him. He’s wearing all black,” the official said she wrote.
Moments later, she was shot, and her assailant, according to the official, started ditching his outer garments as he fled the scene. Police later recovered some of the items and arrested him in Brooklyn.
Johnson’s family has said she filed several domestic violence complaints in the months before she was killed, but no arrests were ever made. Law enforcement sources confirmed that she had filed multiple complaints concerning more than one alleged abuser.
The senior official who spoke to The Daily Beast said Johnson’s suspected killer had previously been on law enforcement’s radar following an incident on New Year’s Day in which he allegedly threw her against a wall. He was gone by the time officers arrived, but the official said the man was issued an investigation card on suspicion of misdemeanor assault, meaning he was wanted for questioning in connection with the alleged attack. He had still not been apprehended in that case at the time of the shooting.
“We called every day to the domestic violence [unit]. You know what they told me, it’s not harassment if he makes a threat,” Johnson’s mother, Lisa Desort, said at a Thursday-night vigil for the slain young mom.
“Now, my daughter is dead. She’s dead!” she cried.
Investigators had reportedly homed in on one of Johnson’s exes shortly after her murder, with law enforcement sources telling the New York Post they were treating the killing as a “domestic” incident.
“She was targeted. It was a close head shot and there were powder burns,” one source was quoted saying.
Johnson’s mother addressed the man she believed was responsible for her daughter’s murder in comments to NBC New York: "I treated you like a son. I welcomed you into my home. I spoke to you and calmed you down when you were upset. I fed you. Your baby girl does not, and no longer, will have a father or mother."
Johnson leaves behind the 3-month-old she was with at the time of her killing, along with a 1-year-old.