Wednesday, 20-year-old Azsia Johnson was shot at point-blank range while she was pushing her 3-month-old baby in a stroller on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Her mother, Lisa Desort, alleges the city failed to protect her daughter and prevent the killing because Azsia had previously reported being abused and stalked, according to NBC New York.
“The city failed my daughter because on January 1, my daughter called me and said she was being abused while she was six months pregnant. She was scared to call the police so she gave me the address. I called the police,” Desort said via NBC New York.
Reports say Johnson, mother of two, alleged being abused by her son’s father while pregnant with her daughter. When Desort first met the man, she said he paced around her house waiting for Johnson to arrive and thought she was cheating on him. Desort said the man assaulted Johnson when she was six months pregnant and continuously threatened her. Johnson moved in with her mother, however, she eventually ended up in a domestic violence shelter in East Harlem. Desort said her home wasn’t safe for Johnson because her alleged abuser knew where she was.
His name hasn’t been released to the public but Desort strongly believes he targeted her daughter and feared this was going to be the result.
More on the case from ABC 7 News:
The 24-year-old was never arrested, although police have been looking him. He reportedly has family in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens that he may have been hiding out with during that time.
Police want to talk to him, but they have not formally named him as a suspect in Johnson’s murder. He has at least five prior arrests dating back to 2017 for felonies ranging from reckless endangerment to robbery.
“I knew it was going to come to this, and I told my daughter this,” mom Lisa Desort said. “For some reason, she felt like she needed to be tracked, so she text her sister and said, ‘This is my location, just in case.’”
Detectives learned of the texts Thursday morning, solidifying their theory that Johnson was targeted.
“We strongly believe it was not a random shooting,” Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday. “We will catch the person responsible.”
Police said the shooter wore all black sweats and a hoodie and walked up behind her, shooting her close enough to leave burn marks on her face. She died an hour later at Metropolitan Hospital. Her baby was unharmed.
Johnson was an aspiring pediatric nurse who graduated high school with merits, her mother said. Though she had her children early, she was a hard worker and planned to buy her own home and give her children the best of everything. Johnson’s story is only one of nearly 10 million cases of abuse people experience annually.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found abusers’ access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner femicide by 400 percent. About 45 percent of Black women have experienced domestic violence in their life and 51 percent of Black women homicides are related to a partner. The killing of Black women is becoming an epidemic.