An 18-year-old man has appeared in court charged with conspiracy to murder in relation to the shooting of the Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson.
Johnson, 27, was shot in the head at a house party in Consort Road, Peckham, around 3am on Sunday and remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Cameron Deriggs, from Bromley Hill, Lewisham, appeared at Westminster magistrates court on Saturday morning after being charged on Friday night.
He was one of five males arrested on Wednesday in connection with the incident. The other four have since been released on bail until late June.
Deriggs has been remanded into custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on 25 June.
Johnson, a graduate of Oxford Brookes University, who has two children, was a leading figure in last summer’s anti-racism protests and is a prominent member of the Taking the Initiative party, which she helped found last year and which has been described as “Britain’s first black-led political party”.
A bullet hit Sasha in her left eye socket at 3am amid the party and she was rushed to King’s College Hospital where she had surgery and the oxygen machine is doing her breathing for her.
Medics say the swelling around her eye will need to go down before they can tell how much her face will have been damaged by the bullet.
Vigils have been held in Ruskin Park, near the hospital but also near the home in Oxford where she was raised by a white foster mother.
Friend Andrew Morris, who has helped organise vigils in both locations, said: “It is bad. She is not out of the woods. We will just have to wait.
“The focus has to be on getting her well and out of hospital as quickly as possible. We have had conversations about next steps – how much she will want to be involved in all the campaigns she’s done. But I think it will make her even more determined to carry on.
“A year ago to the day she led people to the field in Oxford where we had a vigil for her on Tuesday night.
“I wasn’t there on Sunday. There have only been about two times I haven’t been with her recently and that was the second.
“I am not bullet-proof but I wish I had been there.”
Sasha set up a Facebook account last December asking for details of any struggling families of all colours – and delivered hundreds of meals in Streatham, Crystal Palace, Bromley and Penge.
A statement from TTIP said: “We are appreciative of the kind messages and supportive words sent to Sasha and our team and pray that Sasha will make a full recovery. Sasha has been passionately fighting for people and for equality for a long time and now, she is now fighting for her life.
“Whilst we are overwhelmed by the love and the support for Sasha, we are also deeply saddened and disgusted by the negative press that has infested from this act of hate. Since the incident, we have been receiving emails and social media messages celebrating Sasha’s attack, messages wishing she dies, calling her a racist, and wishing better luck to the shooter next time for not killing her and so on.
“We are and will remain in full support of Sasha throughout and after her recovery, and will be working to ensure that this crime is investigated thoroughly. Our priority is Sasha’s health and recovery.”
Charles Gordon, one of Taking the Initiative Party’s (TTIP) founding members said: “We are deeply concerned about the attack on our sister. She is a pillar of our community. I would like to say that we need to stay cautious and aware; the truth is that. We need to remain vigilant; as I explained to other activists, pretending that the problem doesn’t exist, does not make it any less real. We need to remain vocal in the quest for change and remember that democracy is not our silence, but is the voice that we have fought for.”
Scotland Yard also confirmed she faced a court appearance next year for racially harassing a police officer last year.
She had been charged on 5 October 2020 with a racially aggravated public order offence: disorderly behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress. She appeared at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on 7 December 2020.
The case has been passed to the Crown Court and Johnson has been bailed to appear for trial in April 2022.
Detectives continue to appeal for anyone with information to come forward by calling police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 and providing the reference 1172/23MAY.
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