The 14-year-old cousin of Solomone Taufeulungaki – who was stabbed to death in Victoria’s Deer Park on Tuesday night – has described his murder, saying she “saw everything”.
Solo, 15, was allegedly 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.
“I was walking with him that day,” his cousin, Aki Faiva, told Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon this morning.
“I was walking with him near the library and then we heard a group of boys run towards us. So then he told me, ‘Run, Aki. Run, Aki’. I ran across the street to the church and then they got him and that’s when he got beat up.
“I saw everything.”
It was reported the group who attacked the Year 10 student from Victoria University College were carrying knives and baseball bats, and that Solo was stabbed multiple times. He died at the scene.
Aki, who described the days since as tough and said she was devastated, added she thought the fight might have been about “something on social media”.
Solo’s grief-stricken parents Atunaisa and Solome Taufeulungaki sent a message of love to the group behind their son’s death, with his father Atunaisa saying, “We love them. We need to send love to their parents.”
His mother, Salome, said the family doesn’t want revenge.
“We want our son back home. He’s a lovely kid. No revenge,” she told Melbourne’s 3AW radio.
Aki said she wasn’t surprised by the moving gesture.
“The family is a really humble family and a loving family,” she said. “They are really forgiving and caring.”
As for Solo, he was a “really good child”, she said.
“He came to church every Sunday, he was very humble, loving, caring. He was really kind. He always protected me even when I didn’t want him to be there. He always looked out for me. He was really funny.”
The site of Solomone’s murder has become a makeshift shrine to the teenager, with a steady stream of mourners arriving throughout yesterday to pay their respects and leave flowers, balloons and notes.
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’re 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”.
– With AAP