LONDON — A prominent British Black Lives Matter activist was shot and is in a critical condition at a London hospital on Monday, her political party said.
Sasha Johnson, 27, is a member of the “Taking The Initiative Party” a small, British political group established to support the inclusion of Black and working-class people in the United Kingdom.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has been brutally attacked and sustained a gunshot wound to her head,” the party said in a statement on Facebook. “She is currently in intensive care and in a critical condition.”
The group also said Johnson, a mother, had received “numerous death threats as a result of her activism” and called for a vigil outside a south London hospital on Monday.
“Sasha has always been actively fighting for Black people and the injustices that surround the Black community,” the statement continued. “Let’s all come together and pray for Sasha.”
London’s Metropolitan Police Service asked for witnesses to come forward in a statement on Sunday and confirmed they were called to an incident near Peckham, south London, shortly before 3 a.m. after reports of gunshots.
“Officers, including firearms officers, attended along with London Ambulance Service. They found a woman, thought to be in her 20s, suffering with a gunshot injury. The woman remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries,” the statement, which did not name Johnson, said. Police told NBC News by telephone they would not be naming the woman while she was still alive.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
No arrests have yet been made, the statement added.
“Our investigation is in its early stages and urgent inquiries are underway to establish the circumstances,” detective chief inspector Jimi Tele said in the statement.
Imarn Ayton, a friend of Johnson’s, told the BBC in an interview on Monday that she believed the shooting was “related to rival gangs” and that Johnson was not the intended victim.
London, and cities across the world, took part in widespread anti-racism protests last summer, following the death of American, George Floyd. The anniversary of Floyd’s killing will be marked on Tuesday. It triggered global anger and demands for equal rights and an end to police brutality.
Black Lives Matter U.K. said they were saddened by news of Johnson’s shooting.
“BLMUK expresses our shock and solidarity over the shooting of Sasha Johnson. A young mother and fearless political campaigner who was at the forefront of many BLM protests last summer,” they wrote on Twitter.
“Any attempt to intimidate or silence her, is an attack on all of us…We pray that she will pull through.”