Black Lives Matter Leader In Critical Condition After Being Shot In The Head

A British Black Lives Matter leader was shot in the head during a gangland drive-by shooting at the end of an all-day party she attended - not because of her activism, a friend and fellow anti-racism campaigner said today.

Sasha Johnson, 27, the self-styled 'Black Panther of Oxford' who has called for the police to be defunded after the murder of George Floyd as well as helping lead the 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign to topple controversial statues, was 'brutally' attacked after receiving multiple death threats, her political party said. 

But today family friend Imarn Ayton, founder of the UK Black Reformist Movement, said Sasha, famed for wearing black military uniform at protests including a stab-proof-style vest, 'was not the intended' victim and was shot in the head when a rival gang arrived and opened fire on a group standing in the garden of a Peckham house.

One neighbour in south-east London told MailOnline she heard 'two shots' and then the sound of 'screeching' tyres at around 3am. A marquee can still be seen set up in the back garden where the party was held, with drinks bottles discarded on the lawn.

Ms Ayton told the BBC: ‘As far as we’re aware she [Sasha] was at a party and there was a rival gang that may have heard about a person being there that they didn’t feel comfortable with, or trusted, so they resorted to driving past and shooting into a garden. And one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson. But I don’t believe she was the intended target’. 

She added: 'This incident is more related to rival gangs than to her activism’, adding she believed there was ‘some kind of dispute between two different groups’, adding that her friend has now had surgery in hospital, and this had been 'successful'.    

The Metropolitan Police insists there is nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack or that the victim had received any credible threats against her before the shooting at around 3am yesterday. Detectives said the shooting took place close to a house party in Peckham, south-east London, and are appealing for witnesses who were in Consort Road in the early hours. They will also be trying to piece together the events that led to Sasha being in the capital instead of at home in Oxford with her two children.

A neighbour, who lives near the house, told MailOnline: ‘I heard two shots. There was about three seconds between each one and I heard a car screeching off. 

‘A woman then screamed and shouted the word "help". I was too frightened to look out the window. My husband is blind and he was really worried about what was going on too, he was almost having a panic attack. I knew they were gunshots straight away. It’s terrifying that a shooting can happen virtually on my doorstep.’  

Ms Johnson, a mother-of-two Oxford Brookes graduate who rose to prominence after organising BLM protests last summer, is said to be currently in intensive care and in a critical condition in a South London hospital following the attack.  

The Taking the Initiative Party, which Ms Johnson founded, said she had previously received death threats as a result of her BLM campaigning. 

In a statement, the TTIP wrote: 'It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has been brutally attacked and sustained a gunshot wound to her head. 

'She is currently in intensive care and in a critical condition. The attack happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats as a result of her activism.

'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. 

'Sasha is also a mother of 3 and a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.

'Let's all come together and pray for Sasha, pray for her recovery and show our support to her family and loved ones. #prayforsashajohnson'. 

As well as her activism, Ms Johnson has worked as a youth worker and cafe owner. 

Police said the Peckham shooting occurred in the vicinity of a house where a party was taking place and that a number of people may have been in the area. Officers said there is 'nothing to suggest' that the woman shot there was the subject of a targeted attack. 

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