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Sasha Johnson: Prayers for Black Lives Matter activist after shooting

Equal rights campaigner Sasha Johnson, 27, is said to have received "life-threatening injuries" in South London on Sunday morning

Protesters at a black lives matter march in Brighton in June 2020.

Protesters at a black lives matter march in Brighton in June 2020. Dominic Alves/Flickr

Politicians and campaigners have paid tribute to leading Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist Sasha Johnson, who is reportedly in a critical condition after being shot in the head.

Johnson was injured shortly before 3am on Sunday morning in Southwark, London, according to her political party Taking the Initiative.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has sustained a gunshot wound to her head,” the new political group said in a statement on Facebook.

The equality campaigner, 27, was an organiser for the first Million People March held last August to demonstrate against systemic racism.

The Metropolitan Police said a 27-year-old woman suffered life-threatening injuries in Peckham on Sunday morning and is appealing for witnesses, adding that there is no evidence to suggest it was a targeted attack.

“Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community,” the Taking the Initiative Party said.

“Sasha is also a mother of three and a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.”

A vigil will be held today (Monday) at 3pm outside Kings College Hospital in London, Black Lives Matter UK announced.

A friend of Ms Johsnon’s, Imarn Ayton, told BBC News 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.

“This was not targeted to Sasha and it’s just unfortunate that her friends and family will have to witness this and go through it.”

“This was a shocking incident that has left a young woman with very serious injuries,” said Jimi Tele, a detective chief inspector with the Metropolitan Police, in an official statement. “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.”

Southwark’s Labour MP Harriet Harman tweeted: “Whoever carried out this dreadful shooting of Sasha Johnson needs to be caught quickly. Give any info you have to @MPSSouthwark. Reported death threats will need to be investigated. Wishing her a full recovery. With thanks to #nhs for much needed expertise & care.”

“This is gut-wrenching,” said Labour MP David Lammy. “Praying for Sasha Johnson, her family and friends that she makes a quick and full recovery. #BlackLivesMatter”.

A tweet from the Women’s Equality Party said: “Our thoughts are with Sasha Johnson and her family & loved ones as we wish her a full and speedy recovery. All women should be able to live free from the fear of violence on our streets. #BlackLivesMatter”

“Pull through sis! People think it’s a game out here,” said prominent American activist Tamika Mallory.

Labour MP for Leicester Claudia Webbe wrote: “Shocking to hear of the gun shot to the head of Sasha Johnson; All women should be safe on our streets.

Wishing her a full recovery. Sending love and solidarity to her family, friends and loved ones. There are still too many guns and violent weapons damaging too many lives #BLM.”

Later she added: “When I think of the brutal shooting of Sasha Johnson it reminds me that the culture of gun violence is all-consuming affecting whole communities & neighbourhoods.

“The bullet does not discriminate in its effect. But too many women become collateral damage in this ‘culture of fear’”

Former Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox also joined the tributes.

“I have no truck with much #BLM ideology & often disagreed with #SashaJohnson’s divisive rhetoric,” Fox wrote, “but this story of her shooting, whatever the circumstances, is a tragedy. A young woman, an activist, a mother of two. Awful. Hope she makes a full recovery”

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