‘Wrong place, wrong time’: Victim of gang attack named

 

The young man brutally killed when two groups clashed at Zillmere is being mourned by family and friends.

Former Kedron State High School student Girum Mekonnen, 19, died at O'Callaghan Park on Sunday night after he was stabbed during the brawl where two groups of African youths attacked each other with bats and knives in what police say was a revenge attack for an earlier incident.

Two other people were taken to hospital with critical injuries while several others sustained more minor injuries.

At least one man remains on life support and is expected to undergo further surgery on Tuesday.

A woman who was with Girum when he died said he was collateral damage in an ongoing feud between two African groups.

"He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," the woman said.

"There's nothing wrong with Girum."

According to the woman, the group were enjoying some Sunday afternoon drinks when they were ambushed and outnumbered by the group from south Brisbane.

The group were armed with knives and bats and the attack was vengeance for an unarmed brawl at Redbank Plains a week ago.

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

North Brisbane teen Girum Mekonnen was killed in a fight at Zillmere last night. Picture: Facebook
North Brisbane teen Girum Mekonnen was killed in a fight at Zillmere last night. Picture: Facebook


"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."

North Brisbane teen Girum Mekonnen. Picture: Facebook
North Brisbane teen Girum Mekonnen. Picture: Facebook

A school friend described the teen as a "humble, sweet character" who loved playing basketball during lunch breaks.

"I don't even want to imagine what his family are going through right now," they said.

It's believed the brawl between the two groups started around 5.30pm yesterday at the park, which is home to North Star Football Club.

"You (Girum) are someone I will never forget," a loved one said.

Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said he was concerned the attack was in retribution for an assault on September 8 at Redbank Plains - a vicious 12-against-one assault in which a man was bashed with a baseball bat outside a Woolworths supermarket.

A 21-year-old man of Sudanese descent was bashed with a baseball bat outside of the Redbank Plains Woolworths, at Town Square Plains Shopping Centre, last Tuesday night.

Police at the scene of a Zillmere Gang fight. Pic Peter Wallis
Police at the scene of a Zillmere Gang fight. Pic Peter Wallis


Representatives from Brisbane's African community were expected to this afternoon meet with police representatives in relation to the horrific Sunday night brawl, which spilled into hospitals.

Some of the family members who went to hospital to see their injured relatives last night were "very animated" and aggressive.

"I can only imagine to be a member of the family of someone who was injured in this way," Supt Fleming said.

"It's a horrific unacceptable attack in our society.

"I can only imagine that as a parent or as a sibling that that would cause angst in my mind if it was someone that I loved.

"But going off is not going to solve the problem. Retribution is not going to solve the problem. We've seen that in societies around the world where it becomes tit-for-tat - it doesn't end well for anyone."

According to Det Supt Fleming, the meeting had already been scheduled prior to yesterday evening's incident.

Originally published as 'Wrong place, wrong time': Victim of gang attack named



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