After initially saying there was “nothing to suggest” the death of a 14-year-old Black boy was racially motivated, a detective with the West Midlands police in central England announced on Tuesday, amid growing community concerns, that authorities are not ruling out the possibility that the boy’s death was racially motivated.
“We are aware of numerous theories circulating about the murder’s motive, but we are keeping an open mind and investigating all avenues. In a statement released Tuesday evening, Detective Chief Inspector Stu Mobberly said, “We ask people not to speculate on social media.”
A group of people on College Road pursued down a 14-year-old boy, now identified as Dea-John Reid, on Monday, May 31. On a major road in Kingstanding, north Birmingham, he was stabbed in the chest. The adolescent collapsed on the road and died instantly.
Authorities suspect the boy was involved in a brawl that occurred before the stabbing. Reid was said to have been playing soccer prior to the fight. Mobberly also claimed that before to the murder, racist rhetoric was directed at Reid.
“As the inquiry has advanced, we now suspect Dea-John and his pals were involved in an incident shortly before the murder. He claimed, “That quickly escalated, resulting in Dea-John’s untimely death.”
“Racist language was directed against Dea-John and his pals during this antecedent incident, which is now being investigated.”
The N-word was used in the racist rhetoric, according to The Guardian. The group attacked the child “like a pack of savage beasts,” according to a witness.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service dispatched two ambulances to the location, which arrived within five minutes of the initial call at 7:35 p.m., but declared “nothing could be done” to save the kid.
Following the boy’s fall to the ground, authorities believe up to seven perpetrators fled. On suspicion of murder, six individuals have been arrested. Teenagers to men in their thirties are among the suspects.
In Kingstanding, a 33-year-old man was detained, while in Wallsal, a 13-year-old was detained. In Cheshire, a 38-year-old man and a 14-year-old kid were arrested from a vehicle, while two men, ages 35 and 36, surrendered to police at different stations.
“We’ve made great strides in the investigation so far, and these arrests are a big step forward,” Mobberly added.
“Our officers have served a number of warrants in the area, and we’ve collaborated with officers from other jurisdictions to apprehend suspects.”
Two groups of young people battled in front of police near a station after the stabbing. Authorities separated the groups and placed several in handcuffs, but no one was detained.
After analyzing earlier incidents involving the victim, officers voluntarily forwarded the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Reid, according to The Guardian, has no criminal history.
Reid’s family described him as “an extraordinarily brilliant young child” and thanked the public “for their outpouring of love and support” in a statement.
“I miss my son, he was a nice kid,” Joan Morris, Reid’s mother, said during a tribute at the site of her son’s death. “I can’t imagine my life without him.”
All of the suspects are still in jail, and police say they’re evaluating new information as it comes in.