Sasha Johnson: Met Police tell of ‘wall of silence’ after Black Lives Matter activist shot in the head
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The “heartbroken” family of a young mother catastrophically wounded by a shooting at a party have vowed to fight for justice and have pleaded with witnesses to come forward.
Four men in balaclavas shot at guests in the back garden of the house in Consort Road, with one round striking Ms Johnson in the head at very close range, a court hearing heard.
Police believe this was unconnected to her campaigning.
The 28-year-old suffered catastrophic and permanent injuries and remains in hospital.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW
Four men were charged with conspiracy to murder - but all charges were later dropped.
Now Ms Johnson’s relatives have made an emotional appeal for “justice” for her attackers - and shared a moving hospital bed image of the devastating impact of her injuries.
Shakira Williams, her sister, said: "We were left emotionally scarred and damaged. We all got shot in the head and the pain has been so much at times it’s like we couldn’t breathe.
"How ironic. Because when you saw that George Floyd couldn’t breathe thousands of miles away you took it to the streets of the UK to fight for justice.”
She added: "Your boys are being so brave and strong. Mum is heartbroken. But she is being so strong.
"The journey has been devastating. Never forget, we are blessed. Sasha you are alive. The doctors said you are a miracle.”
And Ms Williams pleaded with any witnesses to the shooting to come forward.
"You could be anyone’s daughter, mum, sister, cousin, aunt or friend, just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.
"We are asking for justice for you. You always helped so many people, no matter their age, background or race.
"You were there for people and would do anything to help.
“Now is the time for people to speak up for you."
The four men who were arrested had pleaded not guilty to having a gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
But on February 22, the judge Mr Justice Hilliard recorded formal not guilty verdicts for all four defendants, after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the case ahead of trial.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said he was unable to give the full reasons for the decision.
The four men were released, but the investigation continues.
Det Ch Insp Nigel Penney, from the Met Police, said: “I want to pay tribute to Sasha’s family who have shown incredible bravery and resilience throughout this ordeal.
“Their lives have been changed forever by the events of that night in May 2021.
“We have been working tirelessly to deliver justice for them and for Sasha and those efforts continue.
“Of course it was disappointing that the case against those previously charged could not be taken forward, but it only increased our determination to continue and find a breakthrough.”
He added: “Our biggest challenge is the wall of silence we have faced when appealing for witnesses to come forward.
“Sasha was at a party when she was shot. There were plenty of people there. Yet many have not been willing to speak to us.
“I know it is daunting but our officers are here to do all we can to support anyone who is willing to come forward.”
Det Ch Insp Penney said he was also appealing to the wider community.
He said: “If you saw anything odd on the night, heard a careless comment in the days after, if you’ve spotted someone acting unusually or if you have any other information – no matter how insignificant – we really need you to contact us.
“Sasha was someone who always spoke up for others. Now it’s time for people to speak up for her.”
Anyone with information can call the incident room on 0208 721 4622 where officers are ready and waiting to take their calls.
Alternatively, if you do not want to contact the police directly, you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or by visiting their website.
Crimestoppers won’t ask for a name and can’t trace calls or IP addresses.