UPDATED: 1:14 p.m. ET, May 26
Original story published May 24
Law enforcement officials in London arrested five men Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder of Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson.
The suspects include a 17-year-old who was detained on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and possession with the intent to supply drugs; three men aged 18, 19, and 28, who were arrested on suspicion of group fighting and possession with intent to sell; and a 25-year-old man who was arrested after a car chase for group fighting and failing to stop for police, CNN reports.
“While the investigation remains in its early stages, these arrests show that progress is being made. However, I would continue to appeal to those who may hold information about the events that led to Sasha receiving her horrific injuries, or about those responsible, to do the right thing and come forward and speak to police,” Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard said in a statement.
Johnson, a 27-year-old mom of three, remains in critical condition after she was shot in the head at a house party in London on Sunday.
Earlier this week police in London has provided some additional information about a shooting that left a Black Lives Matter activist fighting for her life in a hospital over the weekend.
The Metropolitan Police previously stated that “four black males in dark clothing” are responsible for the shooting, European news outlet Sky News reported.
Police said Johnson was attending a house party when she was shot and have suggested she mistakenly struck by the gunfire.
“We are aware of Sasha’s involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK and I understand the concern this will cause to some communities – however, I wish to stress that at this time there is nothing to suggest Sasha was the victim of a targeted attack,” Met Police Commander Alison Heydari told Sky News.
She added: “We are also not aware of any reports of threats made against her prior to this incident.”
However, the Taking the Initiative organization in which Johnson was a leader posted on Facebook on Sunday that she has been the subject of “numerous death threats.”
Original story below:
A vigil was being planned on Monday to offer prayers and demand justice for the shooting of a Black Lives Matter activist in London over the weekend.
Sasha Johnson, who is also a leader within the Taking the Initiative organization, was hospitalized after being shot in the head early Sunday morning in the Peckham neighborhood of southeast London, according to reports. The 27-year-old activist was in critical condition and no arrests had been made as of Monday morning.
It was unclear who shot her and local police were asking for any witnesses to come forward, the Guardian reported. Police responded to reports of gunshots at around 3 a.m. Sunday.
Racists were reportedly rejoicing on social media at the news of Johnson’s shooting.
Johnson’s shooting was first announced by Taking the initiative in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. The group said Johnson, a mother of three, was shot “following numerous death threats.”
Read the group’s statement in its entirety below.
“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.
Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking the Initiative Party’s Executive Leadership Committee. Sasha is also a mother of 3 and a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.
Let’s all come together and pray for Sasha, pray for her recovery and show our support to her family and loved ones.”
Good Morning Britain, a TV show in the UK, quoted a person identified as Johnson’s friend saying in a news article Monday that the BLM leader “was not the intended target” of the shooting. Imarn Ayton said Johnson was at a party before she was shot and attributed the shooting to wanton gang violence.
“As far as I am aware… this incident is more related to rival gangs as opposed to her activism,” Ayton said before adding later: “But I don’t believe she was the intended victim. This was not targeted to Sasha and it’s just unfortunate that her friends and family will have to witness this and go through it.”
However, London’s Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele said no one should jump to conclusions about who was behind the shooting until additional information was released.
“I would ask people to avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it,” Tele said.
Taking the Initiative has planned a vigil to be held outside Kings College hospital in London for 3 p.m. local time.
“Let’s show our support and stand against senseless violence!” the post said.
While gun violence is commonplace in the United States, it is beyond rare in London. In fact, gun violence in England and Wales was falling late last year, when the most recent statistics were available.