A black equal rights activist who was caught up in gunfire when violence erupted at a party was not the victim of a targeted attack, police have said.

Sasha Johnson was rushed to hospital with "very serious" injuries after she was shot in the head in Peckham, south-east London, in the early hours of Sunday.

Metropolitan Police Commander Alison Heydari said a group of four black men had entered the garden where the party was being held and opened fire.

In a statement, she said: "This was a shocking incident that has left a young woman with very serious injuries.

"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.

"We are also not aware of any reports of threats made against her prior to this incident."

Dr Heydari said police inquiries had established that Ms Johnson was at a party at a house in Consort Road early on Sunday morning.

She said: "From our inquiries so far, we have established that Sasha had been at a party at a house on Consort Road in Peckham early on Sunday morning.

"Around 3am, a group of four black males dressed in dark coloured clothing entered the garden of the property and discharged a firearm.

"They had left the scene before officers arrived."

Ms Johnson is a known figure in the Black Lives Matter movement and is described as "a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community" by the Taking The Initiative Party, of which she is a member.


Activist Sasha Johnson speaking during the Million People March in London. PA Video/PA Wire

Activist Sasha Johnson speaking during the Million People March in London. PA Video/PA Wire

She works in activism and community support and got a first in social care at Oxford University.

Dr Heydari said the force was not aware of Ms Johnson receiving any threats prior to the attack.

Ms Johnson's friend Imarn Ayton told BBC News that the young mother has successfully undergone surgery and her parents are with her in hospital.

Asked about the circumstances, she said: "As far as we are aware, she was at a party.

"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.

"But I don't believe she was the intended victim."

On Monday, a group gathered around the bandstand in Ruskin Park, Denmark Hill, to hold a vigil for Ms Johnson close to the hospital where she is being treated.

They played African drums and prayed for Ms Johnson to pull through.

Witnesses should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

"I would ask people to avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it."