THE death of one teenager and stabbing of two others in Thursday’s afternoon of violence in Canning Vale has heightened fears that Perth is in the grip of a growing gang knife-crime culture.
Detectives yesterday charged a 20-year-old woman with murdering 17-year-old Jacob Cummins and attempting to kill four other teenagers in the southern suburb.
It will be alleged she drove a car at the teenagers and that it hit them after an altercation between rival ethnic groups, which involved knives being used in the carpark of the Livingston Marketplace shopping centre.
One of the teenagers stabbed was recovering in Fiona Stanley Hospital last night as police pieced together a series of violent incidents that culminated in Jacob’s death on Eucalyptus Boulevard.
Former police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan has warned that more knife violence is likely.
“We certainly were aware of it being a problem when I was commissioner,” he said.
“A growing knife culture is an emerging issue and some young men from parts of Africa who settle here have a propensity to carry them.”
Tributes flowed at the crash site and online yesterday, with a vigil planned by Jacob’s friends at Scarborough beach later today. Born in Dublin, Jacob was a former student of Safety Bay Senior High School.
Video posted on social media hours after the violence, which occurred in three separate locations in the space of an hour, showed him with a group of teenagers fighting in a park near the intersection of Ranford and Nicholson roads.
After the fist fight, knives were used outside McDonald’s before Jacob and four young men, believed to be of Sudanese origin, were struck by the car.
“Detectives are keen to speak with anyone who has knowledge of these events,” WA Police said in a statement.
“The investigation is ongoing and police urge those involved, their families, friends and associates to co-operate with detectives.”
Mr O’Callaghan said that he believed more should be done to address the knife-carrying culture. “Police will have to be … talking to the community. We’ll see more incidents with knives.”
Analysis by Gary Adshead, perthnow