Police prepare for gang retaliation after fatal stabbing of teen

Police officers are preparing for potential reprisal attacks among warring street gangs following the stabbing death of Tarneit teenager Hashim Mohamed on a crowded St Kilda beach earlier this month.

On Wednesday, police charged two teenagers for their alleged involvement with the stabbing, which sent shockwaves through Melbourne’s west and sparked condemnation among members of the city’s African community.

Hashim Mohamed was fatally stabbed in St Kilda on December 4.

A 16-year-old boy from Kurunjang and a 17-year-old boy from Taylors Hill were arrested during a series of early morning raids across five residential properties in the north-western suburbs.

They were charged with affray and violent disorder, though police expect to arrest “several more people” over Mohamed’s death, which is still being investigated.

Police sources have told The Age that revenge attacks by teen gang members and friends of Mohamed were inflaming tensions that had already been building between groups of youths.

Suspected teen gang members have been linked to a string of home invasions, armed robberies and car thefts in recent weeks.

Mohamed was found unconscious on St Kilda beach with a knife still in his back about 7.30pm on December 4. He was rushed to The Alfred hospital, where he later died.

The 18-year-old, who narrowly survived a car crash that killed four friends in Truganina in 2021, had been with friends on the busy coastal strip when a brawl broke out with another group of young men.

Two days after the killing, seven youths associated with Mohamed were arrested at a home in Melbourne’s west, further fuelling fears of reprisal attacks being planned.

Knives have become a major source of concern, with data from the state’s injury surveillance unit showing that at least two people a day are taken to a Victorian hospital with stab wounds.

The number of people presenting to emergency departments following a knife attack has almost doubled in the past financial year, with 820 people treated by doctors for stab wounds across the state between July 2021 and June 2022.

The bulk of stabbing patients have been males between the age of 15 and 49, with knife injuries to their thorax, wrist, hand, abdomen, back and head. Many said they didn’t know their attacker and were stabbed in the street.

At least 565 teenagers have been stabbed since 2011, the equivalent of about 12 per cent of emergency department presentations for knife injuries.

The rise in knife attacks in the state has prompted police to issue an internal warning to officers who might come across youth offenders.

Alier Riak and Declan Cutler were both killed during separate attacks in March.Credit:

In March, 16-year-old Declan Cutler was chased down, beaten and stabbed to death in a Reservoir street after leaving a nearby house party. Police say he was the unintended target of a gang attack.

Hours later, West Australian rising basketball star Alier Riak was fatally stabbed and his older brother injured after they were allegedly ambushed by five strangers at Docklands.

In October, Melbourne was rocked by a series of violent attacks in the CBD, where a man was killed and three others were injured in separate stabbings.

Acting Superintendent Troy Papworth said at the time that groups of young men had come into the city “to cause violence” and described the spate of violence as “frankly disgraceful”.

Less than a month before Mohamed was killed, eight teenagers were charged over the unrelated fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old man and the alleged kidnapping of another in Heidelberg West.

Police would like to speak to anyone who witnessed Mohamed’s stabbing and has mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam footage of the area at the time of the incident.

Anyone with further information about the stabbings is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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