10 murder charges due over 'violent' gang attack

 

Police have made 10 arrests arrests following a violent clash between two groups of African youths at Zillmere that left one person dead, three in a critical condition and several others injured.

All 10 people are expected to be charged with murder over the incident.

Former Kedron State High School student Girum Mekonnen, 19, died at O'Callaghan Park on Sunday night after he was set upon and stabbed by a group of youths armed with bats and knives.

Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said ten people would be charged with murder, as well as 11 counts of acts intending to cause grievous bodily harm and affray.

 

Up to 10 people have been arrested.
Up to 10 people have been arrested.

He said the group are alleged to have run from the scene of the crime and jumped into three vehicles before they drove to the Ipswich area.

Police believe about 21 people were involved in the incident, and those who were attacked were at the park for peaceful recreation purposes.

"We did have issues on Sunday night with people not cooperating with us," Det Supt Fleming said.

"To those in the community who have come forward ... I am very grateful.

"If you have information that you think might help us with this investigation, please contact us.

"It's an unacceptable attack on a group of people who were just going about their business on that afternoon.

"I think those people were incredibly surprised by what happened to them.

"It was violent and it was confrontational."

One of the people arrested following Sunday’s violence. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
One of the people arrested following Sunday’s violence. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

"It's just unacceptable to have people in a public space going about their business to be attacked this way," Det Supt Fleming said.

He said African community leaders were "appalled and hurt" by what happened.

"Many of the people of the African community, they're just trying to make a go of it like anyone else," he said.

"This is the behaviour of ten individuals."

Scenes on the night of the violent clash at Zillmere. Picture: John Gass
Scenes on the night of the violent clash at Zillmere. Picture: John Gass

When asked if Girum Mekonnen was specifically targeted, or if it was anyone at the gathering at Zillmere, Det Supt Fleming said: "I'd just say anyone they could get in that group."

"That is the allegation at this time. It's unfortunate that Girum has died as a result of that."

Det Supt Fleming said those involved in the attack sustained injuries that ranged from a broken thumb to critical stab wounds to their body.

One of three people arrested over the violent gang clash. Picture: Dan Peled
One of three people arrested over the violent gang clash. Picture: Dan Peled


Three people are still in hospital, one in a serious condition.

Vehicles have been seized as part of the investigation.

Det Supt Fleming said police were still working through the motivation of the attack at Zillmere. He said there was a potential it was linked to an assault at Redbank Plains on September 8 where a man was set upon by 12 people.

In that attack, a 21-year-old man was bashed with baseball bats and had his head stomped on multiple times.

Det Supt Fleming said police have information the attack at Redbank Plains was the "catalyst" for Sunday's incident.

Girum Mekonnen was killed in a violent clash in a Zillmere park on Sunday night. Picture: Facebook
Girum Mekonnen was killed in a violent clash in a Zillmere park on Sunday night. Picture: Facebook

"Are they a gang with this title and this structure? I don't know that," he said of the men who arrived at the Zillmere park.

He said the men were after "anyone they could get" and had not specifically targeted Girum.

"Some people have suffered really tremendously significant wounds to their bodies and will take some time to recover," he said of the survivors.

Witnesses from Sunday night's stabbing have told how a group was enjoying some afternoon drinks in the park - part of the North Star Football Club - when they were ambushed.

Police and SES at the scene of the gang fight at Zillmere. Pic Peter Wallis
Police and SES at the scene of the gang fight at Zillmere. Pic Peter Wallis


"They weren't really after Girum. There was a fight that broke out … at Redbank," a woman said.

"This whole time they were trying to find out who did what and because of who, and (Girum) hangs out with the guys (involved in the Redbank brawl).

"He's a soft natured person who doesn't like fighting. He's an angel dropped from heaven. It's so hard to comprehend what's happening."

One arrested man was driven through the Brisbane Watch House shortly before 11am and another at 11.30am.

It's understood the police investigation centred on the movements of the people involved, CCTV, information from seized phones and witness statements.

Originally published as Multiple arrests over gang revenge killing


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