A UK activist known as the “Black Panther of Oxford” is fighting for her life after being shot in the head following “numerous death threats,” according to her political party.
“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 hospitalized and in a critical condition,” the Taking The Initiative Party wrote Sunday about the attack in south London.
“The incident happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats,” the party said of the Black Lives Matter leader who made headlines last year for wanting to create an official registry of racists.
BLM UK also expressed its “shock and solidarity” at the “senseless attack,” tweeting, “Any attempt to intimidate or silence her, is an attack on all of us.”
Johnson was shot after a party, and London’s Metropolitan Police said it was not connected to the death threats. The incident is being investigated by the department’s gang unit.
“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,” the force insisted in a statement.
Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele also pleaded for people to “avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it.”
“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,” the senior officer said.
“A dedicated team of detectives is working tirelessly to identify the person or persons responsible for this shooting.”
A friend of Johnson’s, Imarn Ayton, told the BBC that she does not believe the prominent activist “was the intended victim” of the attack.
“As far as I am aware … this incident is more related to rival gangs as opposed to her activism,” Ayton said of the mom of three.
The Taking The Initiative Party was formed last summer as protests against racial inequality swept the globe following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota in late May.
BLM UK praised Johnson as a “fearless political campaigner who was at the forefront of many BLM protests last summer.”
“She impressively founded a new Black-led political party and was dedicated to resist anti-Black racism.”