Multiple media outlets are reporting this morning on the shooting of prominent UK Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson.
The shooting reportedly happened at around 3 a.m. local time in London near a house party, according to police. The “Taking the Initiative” party, of which she is a member, confirmed her shooting on their Facebook page and said it happened “following numerous death threats”:
It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has sustained a gunshot wound to her head. She is currently hospitalised and in a critical condition. The incident happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats.
London’s Met Police, however, are saying there are no indications at this time that this was a targeted attack or that there were any prior credible threats:
The police statement said that at this early stage of investigation there was no evidence to suggest a targeted attack or that the woman “had received any credible threats against her prior to this incident.”
Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command (Trident) are conducting an investigation and looking to speak with anyone who was at the party in the Consort Road area of London, it added.
[Detective Chief Inspector Jim] Tele added that while he recognized the incident “will have shocked those in the local community and further afield” he called on the public to “avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it.”
BLM UK expressed their support for Johnson, a mother of three, on their Twitter page. They noted she wasn’t officially part of their group but was a leader for the black community in the UK:
We are saddened to hear that Sasha Johnson is fighting for her life after a critical wound and following numerous death threats.
While Sasha wasn't part of our organisation, she impressively founded a new Black led political party and was dedicated to resist anti-Black racism.
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) May 23, 2021
Of course, before knowing all the facts about the case, some politicians weighed in and assumed Johnson was shot due to her activism:
Black activist #SashaJohnson in hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. Nobody should have to potentially pay with their life because they stood up for racial justice #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/AlE4ELXiFl
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) May 24, 2021
But not only did the police say there was no evidence of that at this point, a friend of hers told the BBC she believes the shooting was gang-related:
Imarn Ayton, a friend of Ms Johnson’s, told the BBC doctors had carried out surgery on her fellow activist which had gone well and she was “now with her parents”.
She said Ms Johnson had been at a party or gathering when she was injured but she did not believe “she was the intended victim”.
“As far as I am aware… this incident is more related to rival gangs as opposed to her activism,” Ms Ayton said.
We’ll keep you posted on this developing story. Stay tuned.