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‘I Can’t Speculate’: UK Black Lives Matter Activist Sasha Johnson In Critical Condition After Being Shot, Close Friends Dispute Whether She Was the Intended Target

A British Black Lives Matter activist is in critical condition after being shot in the head in South London over the weekend. However, members of her political group Taking the Initiative Party are saying that she was not the intended target. (TTIP is a British political party founded last summer by Johnson and Black businessman Charles Gordon to promote the interests of Black and working-class people in the United Kingdom.) 

Sasha Johnson is recovering from surgery after being wounded in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 23. The organizations initially announced the news on Sunday on their respective social media pages. 

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – 2020/08/30: Sasha Johnson Co-organizer of the Million People March and Black Lives Matter activist takes part during the demonstration. (Photo by Thabo Jaiyesimi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“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,” TTIP wrote on Instagram. Prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery quickly began pouring in from supporters for the 27-year-old mother of two. Johnson was said to have received “numerous death threats” prior to the incident allegedly due to her work in the community. 

British Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson is recovering after being shot in the head in southeast London early Sunday morning . @takingtheinitiative/Instagram

In a statement to CNN, London’s Metropolitan Police said they responded to reports of gunfire at a house party around 3 a.m. local time Sunday morning near the southeast London area. Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command revealed that an investigation has now been launched into the incident. They are also looking to speak to anyone who was at that party in the Consort Road region. 

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Tele implored those at the party of the incident to come forth with any information they may have regarding what happened to Johnson. Tele also noted that while the nature of the incident “will have shocked those in the local community and further afield,” he urged that the public “avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it.”

Those close to Johnson believe she was not the intended target and that the incident was “more related to rival gangs.” Imarn Ayton told ITV News that Johnson was at the party but “does not believe she was the intended victim.” 

She continued, “I do believe that it was a party and there was some type of dispute between two individuals or two gangs, and it was wrong place, wrong time. And the third-party information that I have received also alludes to the fact that she wasn’t the target. I can’t speculate. I wasn’t there. Again, just based off of the information that I’ve been given from closer friends and family, as far as we are aware, she was at a party or some sort of gathering, and this incident is more related to rival gangs as opposed to her activism, let’s just say that.”

Ayton told the outlet that a rival gang was informed about an unwanted guest being at the party and that they “resorted to driving past and shooting into the garden, and one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson.”

Johnson, who has been described as “a strong, powerful voice” for her people and her community, gained notoriety last summer for her work with TTIP, which has been considered “Britain’s first Black-led political party.” When she’s not working with TTIP, she also delivering food to families in need, her organization told reporters. 

Black Lives Matter UK is scheduled to host a vigil for Johnson on Monday afternoon outside Kings’ College Hospital in south London.

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