Black equal rights activist fighting for life after party shooting

·5-min read

A black equal rights activist is fighting for her life after being caught up in gunfire when violence erupted at a party.

Sasha Johnson is in a critical condition in hospital after she was shot in the head in Peckham, south-east London, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police said there is no evidence that the 27-year-old campaigner was the intended target of the shooting.

Her friend, Imarn Ayton, told BBC News that the young mother has successfully undergone surgery and her parents are with her in hospital.

Asked about the circumstances, she said: “As far as we are aware, she was at a party.

“There was a rival gang that may have heard about someone being in that party that they didn’t feel quite comfortable with or trusted and so they resorted to driving past and shooting into the garden, and one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson.

“But I don’t believe she was the intended victim.”

Sasha Johnson shooting
A cordon in south-east London, close to where Sasha Johnson was shot in the head (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Oxford graduate Ms Johnson is a known figure in the Black Lives Matter movement and is described as “a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community” by the Taking The Initiative Party, of which she is a member.

In a statement, the TTIP said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has sustained a gunshot wound to her head.

“She is currently hospitalised and in a critical condition.

“The incident happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats.

“Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking The Initiative Party’s executive leadership committee.”

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The TTIP has asked people to “all come together and pray for Sasha, pray for her recovery and show our support to her family and loved ones”.

Claudia Webbe, Labour MP for Leicester East, was among those who went online to express “solidarity” with Ms Johnson.

Ms Webbe said: “We were all out last year for Black Lives Matter.

“I only know her as an activist on these issues of Black Lives Matter. I support Black Lives Matter and therefore support what she was doing.

“As a Member of Parliament I stand in full solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and I stand with her work in the Black Lives Matter movement.”

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Ms Johnson works in activism and community support and got a first in social care at Oxford University.

The Metropolitan Police issued an appeal for witnesses to the shooting of a 27-year-old woman but refused to confirm if it was Ms Johnson.

She was found after officers were called to reports of gunshots in Consort Road, Peckham, shortly before 3am.

A Met Police spokesman said there is nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack.

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Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele said: “This was a shocking incident that has left a young woman with very serious injuries.

“Our thoughts are with her family, who are being provided with support at this terribly difficult time.

“A dedicated team of detectives is working tirelessly to identify the person or persons responsible for this shooting.

“They are making good progress but they need the public’s help.

“If you saw anything suspicious in the Consort Road area in the early hours of Sunday morning or if you have heard information since that could help detectives, it is crucial that you get in touch.”

On Monday a group gathered around the bandstand in Ruskin Park, Denmark Hill, to hold a vigil for Ms Johnson close to the hospital where she is being treated.

They played African drums and prayed for Ms Johnson to pull through.

One speaker told the crowd: “In every community there are good eggs and bad eggs and we have to make sure those bad eggs are held accountable for their actions.

“Because it’s not acceptable for those bad eggs to be attacking our warriors – be they male or female.

“Warriors who are out there every day without pay working for our families, working for our communities.”

Dr Darren Henry, who knew Ms Johnson through community activism campaigns, called on those speculating about the shooting to “let the police do their jobs”.

He told the PA news agency: “We say, let the police do their jobs the way they are supposed to – but the community will be watching.

“Like any shocking or horrendous crime in our community, we hope that the offenders are brought to justice and that there is no bias and no racism.

“Let the police do their watching and monitoring, but we are out here as well doing our watching and our monitoring.”

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