‘Designated area’ declared after teen’s 'murder'
Police are trying to calm tensions in Melbourne's west after a 15-year-old boy was killed outside a suburban shopping centre in an alleged brawl with a group of teens, some as young as 13.
Solomone Taufeulungaki was stabbed to death outside Brimbank Shopping Centre in Deer Park on Tuesday afternoon.
It is alleged he was approached by a group of eight to 10 youths wielding knives opposite his family's place of worship, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Every Sunday my son come to this church. I believe maybe every Sunday his spirit (will) join with us in this true church," his father Atunaisa Taufeulungaki told reporters on Wednesday.
As for those behind his son's death, he said: "We love them. We need to send love to their parents."
The grief-stricken family laid yellow and blue flowers at the site where he died.
The site has become a makeshift shrine to the teenager, with a steady stream of mourners arriving throughout the day to pay their respects and leave flowers, balloons and notes.
His mother, Salome Taufeulungaki, said the family does not want revenge.
"We want our son back home. He's a lovely kid. No revenge," she told Melbourne radio 3AW.
Six teenage boys, aged between 13 and 16, have faced a Children's Court charged with violent disorder and affray over the incident. No one has yet been charged over his death.
In an effort to prevent further violence of possible reprisal attacks, police said the area around the crime scene could be declared a "designated area" in the coming days.
The move, usually reserved for special events or protests, would allow officers to stop anyone at random and search for weapons.
"This is an option available to us based on the intelligence received, which gives police further powers to conduct searches for weapons," a post on the Eyewatch Brimbank Police Facebook page reads.
Police said they are also speaking with friends, families, schools and community leaders who are known to the young people involved to "alleviate tensions and ensure they're aware of the behaviour and the risks involved with any further violence".
"Rest assured we are doing everything we can to put a stop to this behaviour," they said.
It comes after three people were arrested when a fight broke out at the scene between about 30 people just hours after Solomone was killed. They have since been released.
A police officer was taken to hospital and another man was treated for a cut to the head during the fight, with footage of it on social media showing people running into the taped-off crime scene.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help Solomone's family pay for funeral costs.
The fundraiser describes him as "a caring, kind, selfless and humble soul".
"He had an incomparable sense of humour and was often referred to as a big teddy bear," it read.
"He always put others before himself and his presence always warmed up a room."
More than $25,000 had been raised by Wednesday night.
Originally published as 'Designated area' declared after teen's death