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NYPD: Killing of mother pushing daughter in stroller a targeted, domestic incident

Vigil held for young mother shot, killed on Upper East Side
Vigil held for young mother shot, killed on Upper East Side 02:24

NEW YORK -- Police are still looking for the shooter who gunned down a mother in front of her 3-month-old child on the Upper East Side.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis was told police do not believe it was a random shooting. Sources say they're looking to speak with the father of the child -- a 22-year-old man with a criminal record. He is considered a person of interest in the case.

Police tape lingers along an Upper East Side sidewalk, the last place the baby would ever be with her mother.

Azsia Johnson, 20, was walking with her 3-month-old daughter in a stroller when police say she was shot in the head.

"Azsia didn't deserve this," family friend Ebony Paulin said. "I don't think nobody would want hurt Azsia because she's a good person."

The brazen shooting happened at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday near a playground at East 95th Street and Lexington Avenue.

"An unknown person approached her and fired a single shot into her head from a very close range," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

"We are strongly believe this is not a random shooting, that the victim was targeted," Mayor Eric Adams added.

Watch John Dias' report

NYPD: Killing of woman pushing daughter in stroller a domestic incident 01:55

The NYPD is using surveillance video to see where Johnson went and who she saw before she was killed. According to sources, investigators have video of her meeting the child's father. Those same sources say she texted family that she was going to meet him to talk.

The two were said to have a tumultuous relationship.

When Johnson was pregnant, her mother told police she was assaulted by her boyfriend.

Sources say there was also a domestic violence issue with the father of her other child.

Back by the scene of the killing, frustrated New Yorkers sounded off.

"The whole community is disgusted," Elizabeth Eilender said. "People tell me, back in the '70s it was much worse than it is today. I don't know if that's really a great selling point to tell you the truth."

Eilender said she's reconsidering if she wants to live in America given crime in the city and recent Supreme Court decisions dealing with gun laws and abortion rights.

"I literally renewed my passport last week," Eilender said.

"It's shocking. It's taken me by surprise," Stephen O'Connor said.

"I think it's so sad for the family. I have no words to explain to you," another man said.

The brazen killing of the young mother is stirring up anger from city leaders.

"This 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," Adams said.

The child was not hurt in the shooting. The mayor would not say where the child is, other than that the city is in communication with family members.

Watch Jenna DeAngelis' report

Search continues for gunman who killed young mom on Upper East Side 01:59

Dozens of people gathered at a candlelight vigil near the scene of the shooting Thursday night.

"We're devastated. We're grieving. Somebody's on the loose. We don't know if, you know, anybody else will get hurt, and right now, we're trying to get answers. We want answers," said Sharon Bell, the victim's cousin.

"Why did my daughter get shot like this? Why?" asked Johnson's mom, Lisa Desort.

Desort says her daughter was a victim of domestic violence.

"I need you to know that the city right now and the state failed my daughter," she said.

The mayor also attended the vigil, weighing in on the gun violence plaguing the city.

"Every arm of our criminal justice system must be part of this battle and right now I don't feel like they are. There's a different reality of what's playing out on the streets and what is being done on the other pieces of our criminal justice system," he said.

"It was such a tragedy for our family. Some things like that, that happen so sudden, you're almost not really thinking about it or prepared," Bell said.

Grieving family members say their minds are on the children left behind. Bell set up a GoFundMe page.

Meanwhile, Johnson's relatives have a strong message for her killer:  "Turn yourself in. It was a cowardly move."

Family members also described Johnson has an aspiring nurse who loved her children.

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