LONDON – A prominent British activist for Black Lives Matter was shot dead and is in critical condition in a London hospital on Monday, her political party said.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that our own Sasha Johnson has been brutally attacked and sustained a bullet wound in the head,” the party said in a statement on Facebook. “She is currently in intensive care and is in critical condition.”
The group also said a mother Johnson “received numerous death threats for her activism” and called for a vigil outside a hospital in south London on Monday.
“Sasha has always actively fought for blacks and the injustices that surround the black community,” the statement said. “Let’s all come together and pray for Sasha.”
London’s Metropolitan Police Service asked for witnesses to make a statement on Sunday and confirmed that they were called shortly before 3 a.m. after reports of gunfire on an incident near Peckham in south London.
“Officials, including firearms officers, attended along with the London Ambulance Service. They found a woman believed to be over 20 years old and suffering from a gunshot wound. The woman remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries,” the statement reads unnamed Johnson said. Police told NBC News by phone that they would not name the woman while she was still alive.
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No arrests have been made yet, the statement added.
“Our investigation is at an early stage and an urgent investigation is ongoing to determine the circumstances,” said Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele in the statement.
Imarn Ayton, a friend of Johnson’s, told the BBC in an interview Monday that she believed the shooting was “linked to rival gangs” and that Johnson was not the intended victim.
London and cities around the world participated in widespread anti-racism protests last summer following the death of American George Floyd. The anniversary of Floyd’s assassination will be marked on Tuesday. It sparked worldwide anger and demands for equality and an end to police brutality.
Black Lives Matter UK said they were saddened to hear the news of Johnson’s shooting.
“BLMUK expresses our shock and solidarity at the shooting of Sasha Johnson. A young mother and fearless political activist who spearheaded many BLM protests last summer,” they continued Twitter.
“Any attempt to intimidate or silence her is an attack on all of us … we pray that she will get through.”