Sasha Johnson: BLM activist may have been shot by mistake, say police | London

Detectives investigating the shooting of the Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson believe she was not the intended target, and are trying to track down those who left her fighting for her life.

Johnson was shot in the head while in the garden of a south London property early on Sunday morning at a gathering of 20 to 40 people.

Detectives are investigating whether somebody else at the gathering was the intended target, and Johnson was hit by mistake, or whether the shooting was indiscriminate.

The police do not believe the shooting was targeted or linked to her activism at this stage. They urged people to avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind the shooting.

Forensic experts have been combing the south London scene where the shooting took place, looking for evidence including that linked to the bullets or weapon used.

Detectives have also been interviewing those at the gathering, which ended when gunshot rang out at about 3am.

On Monday morning, police officers wearing pale blue overalls were conducting a fingertip search on Consort Road, where Johnson was shot.

Police had imposed a wide cordon around one house in the backstreets off Rye Lane, Peckham, in south-east London.

The property around which there was the most police interest was a white stucco-fronted detached house, with a large drive and a garage to its right-hand side. An officer at the scene would not confirm whether that was the address where Johnson was shot.

Across the road several evidence bags lay piled in the street.

Police forensic officers on Consort Road.
Police forensic officers on Consort Road. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Johnson, a graduate of Oxford Brookes University, has been a leading figure in last summer’s anti-racism protests and is a leading member of the Taking the Initiative party, which has been described as “Britain’s first Black-led political party”.

The party said in a statement on Sunday that the incident followed “numerous death threats”.

In their last statement issued on Sunday evening, the Met said: “It is believed that the 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.

While the investigation is at an early stage, there is nothing to suggest that the woman who was shot was the subject of a targeted attack or that she had received any credible threats against her prior to this incident.

Officers are very keen to hear from anyone who was at the party and who has not yet spoken to police.”

DCI 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.

“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.

A spokesperson for Black Lives Matter UK said: “BLMUK expresses our shock and solidarity over the shooting of Sasha Johnson. A young mother and fearless political campaigner who was at the forefront of many BLM protests last summer. We are saddened to hear that she is fighting for her life after a critical wound and following numerous death threats.”

The spokesperson added: “We hope and pray that she will pull through this and those who threatened her life are held accountable.”

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