Sasha Johnson: Black Lives Matter activist critical after Peckham shooting, say colleagues

·5-min read
Sasha Johnson (PA Wire)
Sasha Johnson (PA Wire)

A leading British Black Lives Matter campaigner is fighting for her life today after receiving a gunshot wound to the head.

Sasha Johnson was apparently caught in the crossfire in a shooting outside a party.

She was found critically wounded after police were called to a house on Consort Road in Peckham shortly before 3am yesterday.

It is understood that a party had been under way and that Ms Johnson — who was outside with others — was hit accidentally as the gunman opened fire.

Ms Johnson has been a leading figure in the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK. Around 50 of her friends, many of whom wore BLM badges, held a vigil for her on Monday near the hospital where she remains in a critical condition.

Neighbours described hearing shots, a “blood curdling scream” and a car screeching off at the time of the shooting. Armed police were scrambled to the scene as a manhunt was launched.

Imarn Ayton, who met Ms Johnson during the Black Lives Matter protests last year, told BBC News that surgery in hospital “went well” and the mother-of-three was now with her parents in hospital.

A police officer guards the area near where Sasha Johnson was shotREUTERS
A police officer guards the area near where Sasha Johnson was shotREUTERS

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.”

One neighbour said: “I heard two shots, three seconds apart. Then a car screeched off and I heard a woman desperately shouting for help.”

Another said: “I heard a woman desperately screaming. It was blood curdling, it sounded like someone in agony. It was very distressing, it seemed to come out of nowhere. I am just praying the young girl pulls through.”

Sasha Johnson speaking during a protest in London last yearPA
Sasha Johnson speaking during a protest in London last yearPA

Officers were today carrying out door to door inquiries and the crime scene remained behind a police cordon to preserve forensic evidence.

A large white marquee was in the back garden where the party was held. There were discarded bottles and debris across the lawn.

The Met said that its Trident anti-gun crime unit was leading the investigation and that there was “a significant police presence in the area as enquiries continue”.

It is believed that Ms Johnson was not the intended target nor was the shooting in connection with her involvement in Black Lives Matter or other campaigning.

A forensic officer at the scene in Peckham todayJeremy Selwyn
A forensic officer at the scene in Peckham todayJeremy Selwyn

Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele said: “This was a shocking incident that has left a young woman with very serious injuries ... our investigation is in its early stages and urgent enquiries are under way to establish the circumstances. 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.”

Mr Tele added: “Finally, I recognise that this incident will have shocked those in the local community and further afield.

“I would ask people to avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it.”

Friend Chantelle Lunt wrote on Instagram: “Sasha Johnson you are a panther and a warrior. If anyone can survive this, it’s you ... please keep fighting, fight to live. We are praying that you pull through, come on girl. Your children need you, you need to keep fighting.”

Officials from the Taking The Initiative Party (TTIP) , an economic and political group where Ms Johnson is a prominent member, said the shooting followed “numerous death threats”.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

In a statement, it said Ms Johnson had been “brutally attacked” and hailed her as a “powerful voice” who had been fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community.

Ms Johnson works in activism and community support and had previously been a vocal supporter of the campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oxford University.

Ms Johnson was seen addressing crowds during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer but is understood to have broken her links with the movement in recent weeks.

Dozens of activists turn up to offer support at vigil

A vigil for the recovery of Sasha Johnson was held at the bandstand behind the Kings Hospital in Peckham where she is recovering.

A drum circle formed with dancers, incense being burned and prayers offered to Ms Johnson from around 50 activists, family members and friends.

Chants of Black Lives Matter could be heard as speakers addressed the crowds in a positive atmosphere with no police presence necessary.

One speaker said: “Sasha is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She goes up and down the country spreading what she believes in.”

Peckham MP Harriet Harman turned up to the vigil to pay her respects.

Friends and family hold a vigil to Sasha Johnson on a bandstand in Ruskin ParkGetty Images
Friends and family hold a vigil to Sasha Johnson on a bandstand in Ruskin ParkGetty Images

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.”

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Labour MP David Lammy called the attack "gut-wrenching".

He wrote: "Praying for Sasha Johnson, her family and friends that she makes a quick and full recovery, #BlackLivesMatter”.

Read More

A movement not a moment: Britons pay tribute to George Floyd a year since death

Sasha Johnson: Family ‘distraught’ police say as officers seek 4 men

Black equal rights activist was shot when group of men opened fire at party

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting