Sasha Johnson 1
© PA
Sasha Johnson speaking during the Million People March in London
A Black Lives Matter activist was shot in the head after being caught up in a drive-by shooting between "rival gangs", friends have said, which has left her fighting for her life in hospital.

Sasha Johnson, a mother of "two beautiful sons" and an anti-racism activist, was shot at 3am on Sunday in Peckham, south east London, near a house party.

Ms Johnson, who was on Monday in a critical condition, is a leading figure of the UK arm of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and once likened the police to the Klu Klux Klan (KKK).

The incident is suspected to be the result of "gang violence ... or some type of dispute between two different groups," Ms Johnson's friends said on Monday.

The 27-year-old, who friends say had recently relocated to London from Oxford, was highly involved in the BLM movement last summer, which swept through the UK after the police killing of an unarmed blackman, George Floyd, in the US, exactly a year ago tomorrow, May 25.

Ms Johnson was the face of the Million People March from Notting Hill to Hyde Park in August last year, which protested against racism in the UK.

At another anti-racism event last summer, Ms Johnson was filmed telling the crowd: "I ain't scared of no terrorist group, the police is no different from the KKK. They stand around protecting statues and buildings instead of people."

She is also reported to have affiliations with the anti-racism group Forever Family Force (FFF), which marched through Brixton, south London, in military-style uniforms last summer. The group has drawn comparisons to the Black Panther Party from the US in the 1960s.

Her activism has seen her previously call for a "race offenders' register" which would bar people from jobs based on accusations of racism, and for black people to receive financial reparations from the British government due to the legacy of slavery.

On Sunday, police were called to reports of gunshots in Consort Road, in Peckham, south London, where they found a young woman suffering from a gunshot injury.

Ms Johnson's political party, The Taking Initiative Party (TTIP), confirmed she was the victim of the shooting, saying she had received "numerous death threats as a result of her activism".

However, police do not believe the shooting was a targeted attack.

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© Peter Macdiarmid/LNP
The scene at Consort Road in Peckham south London after Black Lives activist Sasha Johnson was shot
It is thought that Ms Johnson was hit by a stray bullet intended for a gang member when she was in the vicinity of a house party being held on Consort Road.

On Monday, a group of eight police forensics could be seen combing the street outside the property.

Imarn Ayton, who met Ms Johnson during the BLM protests last year, said that from information she had been told: "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.

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Ms Johnson's organisation, TTIP, shared this image on social media as she was in a critical condition in hospital
"But I don't believe she was the intended victim."

Ms Ayton told the BBC that Ms Johnson's surgery "went well" and the Oxford Brookes University graduate was now with her parents in hospital.

Asked about the circumstances, she said: "So of course I can't speculate, I wasn't there. Again, just based off the information that I've been given from closer friends and family, as far as we are aware, she was at a party or some sort of gathering and this incident is more related to rival gangs as opposed to her activism, let's just say that.

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© Alberto Pezzali/AP
Sasha Johnson, centre, of the Black Lives Matter movement attends a protest at Hyde Park in London
"So I think it's more to do with gangs or gang violence or rivalry or some type of dispute between two different groups, and the incident was not intended for Sasha as far as we are aware, as I am being told by closer friends and family.

"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."

On Monday afternoon crowds gathered in Ruskin Park, south east London, to hold a vigil and pay tribute to the 27-year-old.

"She's got two beautiful boys," one woman told the crowd.

"She's got so much more to give and we are just waiting here for her to wake up."

Detective chief inspector Jimi Tele of the Metropolitan Police, said: "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.

"A dedicated team of detectives is working tirelessly to identify the person or persons responsible for this shooting. They are making good progress but they need the public's help.

"If you saw anything suspicious in the Consort Road area in the early hours of Sunday morning or if you have heard information since that could help detectives, it is crucial that you get in touch."