Sasha Johnson: 'Four black men in dark coloured clothing' sought over shooting, police say

25 May 2021, 08:45 | Updated: 25 May 2021, 09:18

Forensic officers carry out searches in Peckham after the shooting
Forensic officers carry out searches in Peckham after the shooting. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Police have said their inquiries into the shooting of Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson in London are focused on "a group of four black males dressed in dark coloured clothing" and that she was not the victim of a targeted attack.

Ms Johnson, 27, was at a party when the group entered a garden and discharged a firearm, the Metropolitan Police said.

She was left fighting for life after being shot in the head in Peckham in the small hours of Sunday morning.

Her political party, the Taking The Initiative Party (TTIP), said in a statement on Instagram that she had been "brutally attacked" in the early hours of Sunday following numerous death threats, however police have repeatedly said there was nothing to suggest she was targeted or had received any credible threats.

Activist Sasha Johnson speaking during the Million People March in London
Activist Sasha Johnson speaking during the Million People March in London. Picture: PA

Her friend Imarn Ayton, had previously said Ms Johnson had been at a party and was an innocent victim caught up in a "drive-by" shooting related to rival gangs.

But police Commander Alison Heydari said today: "From our enquiries so far, we have established that Sasha had been at a party at a house on Consort Road in Peckham early on Sunday morning.

"Around 3am a group of four black males dressed in dark coloured clothing entered the garden of the property and discharged a firearm. They had left the scene before officers arrived.

"We are aware of Sasha's involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK and I understand the concern this will cause to some communities - however I wish to stress that at this time there is nothing to suggest Sasha was the victim of a targeted attack.

"We are also not aware of any reports of threats made against her prior to this incident."

Ms Johnson's party said in a statement after the shooting that she was a mother-of-two and hailed her as "a strong, powerful voice" in the black equal rights movement.

The statement read: "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."

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

Ms Webbe said: "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."

Detectives from the Met's specialist crime command (Trident) are leading the investigation.

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."

He said detectives are making "good progress" in hunting the attackers but they need help from the public.

It is "crucial" that anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area in the early hours of Sunday or who has heard information since then get in touch, he added.

Mr Tele also asked people "to avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it."

Anybody with information about the incident is asked to call police on 101 to tweet @MetCC quoting CAD 1172/23May. To remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.