A 21-year-old man has been stabbed to death after a brawl broke out inside Brent Cross shopping centre in front of terrified onlookers.
Police rushed to the scene at around 6.45pm after reports of a large brawl between a group of young men.
An 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder while a second man, also believed to be aged 18, has been arrested on suspicion of affray.
Witnesses said they saw the attacker pull out a ‘Zombie knife’ and stab the victim in the neck, the Evening Standard reports.
They claimed a defibrillator was used on the knife victim as he lay dying outside Marks and Spencers.
One witness said: ‘I was waiting in a queue and I saw a fight of around 10-12 young guys outside of M&S, they got the attention of security, staff and everyone.
A 21-year-old man has been stabbed to death after a fight broke out inside Brent Cross shopping centre in London on Tuesday evening
Terrified shoppers who witnessed the event say the young man was stabbed inside the Apple Store
‘First they argued and fought then one of them took out the knife. It was big, something similar to a Zombie knife. He stabbed the guy in the neck. I’m not sure he even knew what he did, it all happened so quick.
‘They were fighting between each other so I am assuming he took out the knife and did it without thinking twice. I saw them fighting and then one fall on the ground. People rushed to help him as the other youngsters escaped.’
Another witness said: ‘We were really worried. We got ushered away, then there were a lot of officers that stormed in.’
The shopping centre was evacuated and multiple police cars and an air ambulance were in attendance.
Police said members of the public and officers attempted first aid but the 21-year-old died at the scene. A murder probe has now been launched.
Witnesses initially said the attack took place near the Apple store but a store spokesman later confirmed the stabbing took place elsewhere in the shopping centre.
Chief Superintendent Sara Leach, who is in charge of policing in north west London, said: ‘My thoughts are with the loved ones of the young man who has been killed in this incident.
Multiple police cars and an air ambulance were seen outside the shopping centre in north west London
Footage shared on social media showed police ushering away shoppers near a cordon set up inside the shopping centre
‘I would like to offer my thanks to the members of the public who came to his aid. They showed considerable courage.
‘Two people have been arrested and an investigation is already under way. We will do all we can to identify and bring to justice those responsible.
‘The public can expect to see a heightened police presence in the area through the rest of this evening and in the days to come.’
Anyone with information should call 101, providing the reference CAD6136/04MAY.
In the past four months, 12 teenagers have been stabbed to death in the capital, and there are fears the killings could reignite the gang wars that have plagued the city during Sadiq Khan’s term as London Mayor.
Barring a political earthquake, voters are set to give the Labour politician another five years in office at the local elections this week.
Londoners cite crime as their No 1 concern but Mr Khan’s critics accuse him of being preoccupied with traffic-calming measures and crippling increases to the Congestion Charge.
Police said members of the public and officers attempted first aid but the 21-year-old died at the scene. A murder probe has now been launched
Police rushed to the scene and quickly dispersed panicked shoppers on Tuesday evening
Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey previously said: ‘How many tragedies will it take before Sadiq Khan actually takes responsibility for rising crime in London?’
Since Mr Khan came to office in May 2016, at least 114 teenagers have been murdered. Of those, ten were killed in Newham – including two last month.
Fares Maatou, 14, died in an attack in Barking Road, Newham, last month. Two boys aged 14 and 15 have been arrested on suspicion of murder, while another 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the incident.
Witnesses said the teenager was wearing his school uniform when he was stabbed and struck over the head repeatedly with an iron bar.
A close friend of Fares described him as a ‘really nice’ person who ‘loved life’.
The tearful 15-year-old, accompanied by her 33-year-old mother, neither of whom wished to be named, said: ‘He was really nice. He had nothing to do with the gang stuff around here. He would just be there for you. If you ever needed him he would be there.’
In another attack, Junior Jah was killed after being attacked in broad daylight just a few feet from his front door in Coolfin Road, Canning Town.
Back in 2017, his brother, Ahmed Jah, then 21, was also stabbed to death just 150 yards from the scene in Freemasons Road as he went to buy a soft drink from a convenience store.
Fares Maatou (pictured), 14, died at the scene of the attack in Barking Road, Newham, on Friday afternoon, the Metropolitan Police said
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that offences involving knives or sharp instruments rose from 47,388 to 50,019 in England and Wales
According to police statistics, 6,335 crimes have been reported to police within walking distance of the new City Hall in the past three years, including 1,357 violent or sexual offences.
Earlier this year it was revealed knife crime offences in the UK have doubled in just six years to go above 50,000 for the first time since records began.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that offences involving knives or sharp instruments rose by six per cent from 47,388 to 50,019 in England and Wales in the year before the first Covid-19 lockdown was imposed.
Of these offences, 22,012 (44 per cent) were for assault with injury or assault with intent to cause serious harm, and 21,961 (44 per cent) were used in a robbery.
However, NHS hospitals in England reported an eight per cent fall in admissions for assault by a sharp object between April 2019 and March 2020.
The ONS also found that homicides have risen seven per cent to 695 offences including the Grays lorry incident with 39 homicide victims in the same period.
Recent figures also show that knife crime soared by 25 per cent after the first lockdown was eased last summer and have sparked concerns of an ‘eruption’ of violence once current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
Annual Home Office statistics published in February show that between April 2019 and March 2020, police recorded 4,344 threats to kill with a knife – a 22 per cent increase on the previous year.
The number of robberies also went up from 18,518 to 20,196, while there were 20,425 knife assaults with intent to cause serious harm – roughly the same as the previous year.
The past six years have seen a rise in the number of recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, following a previously downward trend.
The year ending March 2020 was the highest number since the year ending March 2011, the earliest point for which comparable data are available.
The ONS said these increases are thought to largely reflect a real rise in the occurrence of knife or sharp instrument offences.
However, improvements in crime recording practices may have also contributed to the recent increases in these types of crime.
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