A 14-year-old boy stabbed to death in Birmingham has been named as Dea-John Reid, with police now investigating reports he was racially abused before his death.
Dea-John’s family have released a tribute to the teenager, who died after being stabbed at around 7.30pm on Monday in Birmingham.
In it, the family said he was “an incredibly talented young boy” and thanked the public “for their outpouring of love and support”.
Officers are now investigating previous incidents involving Dea-John, and have referred their inquiry to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog.
Two boys, aged 13 and 14, and four men in their 30s have been arrested in connection with the killing and are being questioned by officers.
Detective Chief Inspector Stu Mobberley from West Midlands Police said: “As the investigation has progressed we now believe there was an incident involving Dea-John and his friends shortly before the murder. That quickly escalated, resulting in Dea-John’s tragic death.
“During this precursor incident racist language was directed at Dea-John and his friends; that’s now being investigated.”
The family’s tribute to Dea-John said: “We’d like to thank the emergency services for their diligence and support… and the public for their outpouring of love and support throughout this tragic and challenging time.
“This loss not only affects us but everyone Dea-John knew, we have lost a son, his siblings have lost a brother and others have lost a friend.
“The passing of this incredibly talented young boy will be felt by us all.
“How many more mothers will have to mourn for their sons for this to stop?”
West Midlands Police had previously said there was “nothing to suggest” the stabbing was racially motivated.
“New information is coming into the enquiry all the time and being assessed,” DCI Mobberley said today.
“We’re still appealing for witnesses, anyone who saw or heard anything that could help our investigation, to get in touch so we can build up a clear picture of what happened.”
Dea-John is thought to have been chased into College Road in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham on Monday before being stabbed.
An ambulance arrived at 7.35pm but the boy was confirmed dead at the scene a short time later.
Information can be reported at west-midlands.police.uk or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111