Friends say teen killed in shopping centre brawl was an ‘innocent boy’

Nine people have spent the night in custody after the fatal stabbing and a second brawl broke which broke out at the scene hours later.

Solomone’s friend, 16-year-old Veni Atonio, went to the scene to pray on Wednesday morning.

“I don’t know why they had to take an innocent boy,” he said.

“I don’t know why this generation is all about … shivs, killing each other, when they don’t know how the parents will feel. It’s not a parents job to bury their own children.”

Veni remembered his school mate fondly. “With that kind of smile that man has, it’s unforgettable. We are just going to miss him so much.

“It was a stupid act. They should have done something else instead of hanging knives and bats.

“Sometimes I keep telling myself it was me instead of him.”

Veni said he heard the attackers might have been trying to get to someone else, because of something said on social media.

Police and security guards were patrolling the gates of Victoria University Secondary College in St Albans on Wednesday morning where Solomone was a student.

A police officer at the gates of Victoria University Secondary College in St Albans on Wednesday morning.Credit:Eddie Jim

A staff member locked the front gates about 9.30am and a security guard put up a sign advising people to call the school if they need access to the grounds.

About the same time, friends and strangers were laying flowers at the scene and paying tribute to the young teenager.

Police initially reported Solomone was 16 years old, but confirmed on Wednesday that he was 15.

The group that attacked Solomone ran off after the stabbing, but six were arrested on nearby Billingham Road a short time later. They are yet to be charged.

The scene of the Deer Park stabbing on Tuesday night.

The scene of the Deer Park stabbing on Tuesday night.Credit:AAP

Foa Galuega, a family friend of Solomone, said he was a “good kid”.

“He goes to church. He comes from a good family, a humble family. It’s just so unfortunate this has happened to him,” Ms Galuega said.

She said the fight broke out over an online conflict.

“I think it’s all got to do with social media and bullying and things that they say online and they came after him,” she said.

Another friend said he tried to intervene in the fight. “We came and pushed them off and then it was too late because [Solomone] already got stabbed,” the friend said.

Bystanders told Nine they applied pressure to the boy’s wounds before an ambulance arrived.

Paramedics treated Solomone at the scene, but he could not be resuscitated.

Paramedics at the scene when a teen was stabbed on Tuesday afternoon.

Paramedics at the scene when a teen was stabbed on Tuesday afternoon.Credit:Nine

Hours later, a fight broke out at the scene involving about 30 people.

Footage of the second brawl posted on social media shows people running into the taped-off crime scene about 8pm.

A person can be heard in the footage shouting, “I’ll kill you” while bystanders yell “Stop”.

A police officer was taken to hospital for minor injuries and another man was treated for a cut to the head.

Police outside Brimbank Shopping Centre on Tuesday afternoon.

Police outside Brimbank Shopping Centre on Tuesday afternoon.Credit:Nine News Melbourne

Three teenage boys were arrested at the scene and interviewed by police.

A 15-year-old Sunshine boy and a 17-year-old Point Cook boy were released pending summons for assault-related offences.

A 15-year-old Hoppers Crossing boy was interviewed and released.

Homicide detectives are investigating.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

with AAP

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