The family of Sasha Johnson, the young mother and activist shot in the head last May in Peckham, have spoken publicly for the first time to call for witnesses to the horrific attack to come forward.
Ms Johnson’s sister, Shakira Williams, said the family were “left emotionally scarred and damaged” after the attack, which took place at a house party on Consort Road on May 23 last year.
Four men were charged with conspiracy to murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, but the case was dropped dramatically in court last week after the prosecution presented no evidence.
Mother of two Ms Johnson, 27, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital nine months after the shooting.
Her injuries are catastrophic and permanent and the family have released a photo of Sasha in her hospital bed to shows the extent of her injuries and of the devastating impact this shooting has had on a young woman who had the whole of her life ahead of her.
Ms Williams said on Monday (February 28): “We all got shot in the head and the pain has been so much at times it’s like we couldn’t breathe.”
Referring to her sister, she added: “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.
“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.
“You could be anyone’s daughter, mum, sister, cousin, aunt or friend, just at the wrong place at the wrong time. 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.”
Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Penney, who now leads the investigation, 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 has only increased our determination to continue and to find a breakthrough.
“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.
“I would also appeal to the wider community. 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. Officers are ready to take their calls.
Anyone who does not want to contact the police directly can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111 or by visiting the Crimestoppers website. They won’t ask for a name and they can’t trace calls or IP addresses.