Sasha Johnson's Friend Doesn't Believe She Was Intended Target After Shooting Critically Wounds BLM Activist

Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson was in critical condition in a London hospital following a shooting on Sunday, but a friend doesn't believe she was the intended target, the Associated Press reported.

Johnson played a leading role in BLM protests last year, and is part of the Taking the Initiative Party. The party said Johnson has received death threats in response to her activism, but police and the friend expressed doubts about the incident being a targeted attack.

Imarn Ayton said in an interview with the BBC that she did not believe Johnson was the intended target.

"As far as we are aware, she was at a party," Ayton told the BBC. "There was a rival gang that may have heard about someone being in that party that they didn't feel quite comfortable with or trusted and so they resorted to driving past and shooting into the garden, and one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

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Sasha Johnson, a British Black Lives Matter activist, is in a critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound to her head, a statement from her political party, Taking the Initiative Party, said. Above, Johnson (center) at a protest at Hyde Park in London on June 13, 2020. Alberto Pezzali, File/AP Photo

The Taking the Initiative Party said Johnson is "a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community."

The Metropolitan Police force said officers were called to reports of gunshots in the Peckham area of the city just before 3 a.m. Sunday. Police said the shooting took place near a house where a party was taking place.

The police statement said a 27-year-old woman was in a hospital in critical condition after being shot. It did not identify her, but said "there is nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack or that the woman had received any credible threats against her before this incident."

Detectives have appealed for witnesses and have not made any arrests.

Like other countries, Britain has faced an uncomfortable reckoning with race since the death of George Floyd, a Black American, at the knee of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020 sparked anti-racism protests around the world.

Large crowds at Black Lives Matter protests across the U.K. called on the government and institutions to face up to the legacy of the British Empire and the country's extensive profits from the slave trade. Johnson was a speaker at rallies last summer and is a leader of the newly founded Black-led Taking the Initiative Party.

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A police officer stands at a cordon on Consort Road where they are investigating the shooting of Sasha Johnson on May 24, 2021 in London, England. Johnson's condition was announced by her political party, Taking The Initiative, on Sunday, after the shooting in the early hours of Sunday morning. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images