Azsia Johnson’s heartbroken mother says ‘police failed my daughter’ after she reported domestic violence

Azsia Johnson was allegedly abused by the father of her three-month-old baby. The man is now being sought as a person of interest in her murder

Vigil held for young mother who was shot dead while pushing her toddler in a stroller by the baby's father

Azsia Johnson’s heartbroken mother choked back tears as she said “police failed my daughter” this week in the wake of her 20-year-old’s death. Lisa Desort’s daughter had made multiple domestic violence complaints against her ex-boyfriend before she died.

Alongside New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Ms Desort spoke at a vigil in honour of her daughter on Thursday night just steps from where the young mother-of-two was shot dead execution-style while pushing her three-month-old baby in a stroller.

Ms Desort, a retired EMT who worked with the mayor when he was an NYPD officer, said that Ms Johnson had reported her baby’s father for domestic violence but he continued to “harass” and “threaten” her.

The NYPD failed to arrest or charge the 22-year-old man – who is now being sought for questioning as a person of interest in Wednesday’s murder.

He has allegedly been in contact with family members to check on the three-month-old baby – who was unharmed in the attack – but is yet to speak to police, reported the New York Post.

No suspects have been named and no arrests have been made. The NYPD said that they do have a person of interest in the case, who they have declined to name publicly, and that they are investigating Ms Johnson’s slaying as a “domestic incident”.

“Let it be known that my daughter had a domestic violence case out on the father of her child,” Ms Desort told the Post on Thursday.

“We called the precinct numerous times to tell the [domestic violence] unit that he was stalking and [harassing] her. Even [though] they knew what apartment he lived in, they failed to apprehend and arrest him.”

She said: “The city failed to protect my daughter.”

The NYPD has not responded to a request for comment from The Independent.

Mayor Adams said that this shooting “hits so close to home” as he realised that he knew Ms Desort from their times as first responders.

Speaking at the vigil, he blamed Ms Johnson’s death on gun violence that has torn apart many families in both New York and across the wider US in recent weeks.

“The community is traumatised, this city of traumatised.This is what the fight is about the guns on our streets. This is what we’ve been talking about,” he said.

“These are real stories, real people who are losing their lives… The [police] commissioner and I have been in too many hospitals talking to family members saying sorry for what’s happening.

“We really need all of our city to unite and send a strong message that we don’t want to wake up to gunshots. We don’t want to see blood on our streets. We don’t want to lose innocent families and children.”

Mr Adams said that every “every arm of our criminal justice system must be part of this battle and right now I don’t feel like they are”.

Azsia Johnson’s mother Lisa Desort speaks alongside Eric Adams at a vigil on Thursday night

Ms Desort said that the “mayor is doing the best he can” but can “only do so much” as she hit out at the authorities for failing to protect her daughter.

“It’s not guns, it’s the people shooting the guns,” she said.

“It’s about taking domestic violence serious.”

She added: “The police failed my daughter.”

Ms Johnson, who also had a two-year-old with another man, was abused by her ex-boyfriend when she was six months pregnant with their child, according to her mother.

Ms Desort said that her daughter had reported the baby’s father to police on 1 January after he assaulted her at his home in Queens.

Police sources told the Post that an arrest warrant was issued for the man but that officers couldn’t find him to take him into custody. When officers tried to then follow-up with Ms Johnson. they couldn’t locate her either, they said.

Even after the complaint was filed, Ms Desort said that the man continued to “harass” her and stalk her movements.

Ms Desort said she and her daughter reported the threats to a detective but were told that no crime had been committed.

When the baby was born, she said the ex-boyfriend had found out and contacted the hospital, finding out when she was released from the hospital with her newborn daughter.

Ms Desort said she tried to protect her daughter who moved in with her for some time – but that she moved into a shelter for domestic violence victims in East Harlem because they feared the ex-boyfriend would come to find her there.

The father of the three-month-old baby has been identified as a person of interest and investigators are seeking to question him about Ms Johnson’s murder.

Ms Johnson had texted family members saying that she planned to meet up with the baby’s father on Wednesday night to talk some things out, a law enforcement official told New York Daily News.

Azsia Johnson was identified as the victim of Wednesday’s shooting

The 20-year-old was walking her three-month-old child by 95th Street and Lexington Avenue at around 8.23pm when the horrifying attack unfolded.

Police said that a hooded gunman approached the victim from behind and shot her at point-blank range in the head.

She was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. The baby was unharmed in the attack.

The suspect – a man dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants – fled the scene on foot along 95th Street.

The shooting took place just steps from the Samuel Seabury Playground, where young children were enjoying a summer evening with friends.

Ms Desort described her daughter as “the best mother” to her two children and revealed she had dreams of being a pediatric nurse.

Wednesday’s violent slaying came just hours after New York officials had spent the day working to tackle gun violence in the city at a time when shootings have soared both in New York and across the wider US.

On Wednesday, Mr Adams announced the city was filing lawsuits against ghost gun retailers and met with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand about tackling gun trafficking.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers were working on a gun control bill to ban people from carrying firearms in many places including businesses, unless the individual business specifically says guns are welcome.

The steps come amid a rise in mass shootings across America in recent months and calls for tighter gun control to prevent more communities being torn apart by gun violence.

Last week, President Joe Biden signed a gun safety bill into law after a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked to introduce and pass the first gun major federal regulations in decades.

However, as gun control measures passed through Congress, the conservative-heavy Supreme Court then loosened gun control in a ruling on Thursday.

The justices ruled that a New York law that required people who seek to carry a concealed weapon to get a permit was unconstitutional, paving the way for people to legally carry guns on the streets of America without providing a specific reason for doing so.

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