A 20-year-old woman, who was pushing a stroller with a 3-month-old baby in it, was shot in the head and killed in New York City on Wednesday evening, police said.
The woman was walking with the stroller in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood when the shooter walked up to her and fired from close range at around 8:20 p.m., NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference later that night.
She was pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital. The baby was not injured and was taken to a local hospital.
The suspect, described as a man wearing a black hoodie and black pants, fled on foot, Sewell said.
Authorities did not name the victim, but Lisa Desort identified her as her daughter, Azsia Johnson, to NBC New York.
Desort said Johnson had previously been the victim of domestic violence from her infant child’s father.
“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,” Desort told NBC. “She was scared to call the police so she gave me the address. I called police.”
City Council Member Julie Menin, whose district includes part of the Upper East Side, said Thursday morning that police had taken a person of interest into custody. The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.
Menin had said the victim was the mother of the baby and suggested that the incident “may involve domestic violence.”
“We have been addressing the problem of the overproliferation of guns on our streets, how readily accessible they are, and how there is just no fear in using these guns on innocent New Yorkers,” said Mayor Eric Adams, who made reducing crime central to his election campaign. “This is a result of that.”
Several shootings in recent months have shaken New Yorkers. In April, a man detonated gas canisters on a crowded subway car and opened fire on commuters, shooting 10 people. In May, a subway passenger was shot and killed in an unprovoked attack.
In both cases, the suspects managed to flee the scene and evade capture for more than 24 hours in a city teeming with police officers. Local officials responded by further beefing up police presence in public spaces, a tactic that experts have repeatedlysaid is less effective in reducing crime than other measures that don’t involve police.