A man sought for shooting dead a woman pushing their infant child in a stroller on the Upper East Side was in custody on Saturday, police sources said.
Police had been hunting for the father of Azsia Johnson's infant, identified by sources as her 24-year-old ex-boyfriend. Charges were pending against the suspect, whose name was not immediately released.
"He's a coward," said Sandra Johnson, the victim's aunt. "She didn't do anything to him but let him see that baby, and he killed her in the street."
"Her kid will never know her," the heartbroken aunt said.
Azsia Johnson, 20, had texted a relative that she was planning to meet with the child's father on Wednesday to talk things out, police said.
But instead of a meeting, a hooded gunman brazenly walked up to Johnson on Wednesday night and fired a single bullet into her head at point-blank range. He was arrested in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn Friday, and taken to the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side, said the police sources.
According to police, the year got off to a bad start with the boyfriend beating the pregnant woman just hours after the ball dropped in Times Square.
Johnson's boyfriend "smacked her around" on New Year's Day, just weeks before she was expected to deliver their child, a police source said. Cops were called to the Brooklyn apartment they shared, but he left before they got there, the source said.
Cops with the NYPD's domestic violence unit followed up, and a misdemeanor assault charge was filed against Johnson's boyfriend. But until Friday, the boyfriend never crossed paths with police.
There were no prior domestic violence incidents between the two, police said.
The young mother, who had an older child with another man, was pushing her 3-month-old in a stroller on E. 95th St. and Lexington Ave., just a few steps from the Samuel Seabury Playground, when she was killed around 8:30 p.m., almost exactly as the sun set on Wednesday, cops said.
The victim's aunt, said the boyfriend was stalking and threatening her niece in phone calls and text messages.
She said her niece went to meet the boyfriend because he told her he had two bags of clothes for their little girl. When he didn't show, she left the park, and was shot a short time later, the aunt said.
"She got tired of waiting," the aunt said. "I never met him. I just heard about him. He was abusive to my niece. He was very abusive."
The aunt said a family friend told her that the boyfriend called her during an Upper East Side vigil for the victim. It is not clear if that call was shared with police, or if cops are trying to track the boyfriend's cell phone.
Officials said Johnson was staying at a shelter near the shooting and had lived in Staten Island and Brooklyn in the years leading up to her death.
"She was trying to do what she had to do," the aunt said. "She wanted to get out on her own, be independent."
She said she wanted the killer caught so the family could get justice.
"She was a beautiful girl," the aunt said. "She didn't deserve that."