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Bristol rocked by wave of teenage knife crime: three boys killed in three weeks

Four serious stabbing incidents in the last month have left three Bristol teenagers dead. Police have introduced enhanced stop-and-search powers in response.

(L-R) Mason Rist, Max Dixon and Darrien Williams

Bristol communities are mourning the deaths of three teenagers after four separate stabbings in three weeks. The police have responded by introducing enhanced stop-and-search powers and launching a new operation targeting youth violence.

The first fatalities occurred on January 25th at around 11pm when Max Dixon, 16, and Mason Rist, 15, were stabbed on Ilminster Avenue, Knowle. The boys were attacked by a group who escaped in a car.

An ambulance arrived within minutes but both boys died in hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A fundraiser launched for the boys’ families has so far raised over £15,000 and a vigil held in the area on the Sunday was attended by over 200 people.

The police inquiry has so far resulted in thirteen arrests in connection with the incident, five of whom are appearing in court on murder charges on April 26th. They are aged 14, 15, 16, 17 and 44. Two men, aged 22 and 26, will also appear on the same day, charged with assisting an offender.

Max’s sister Kayleigh posted a tribute to her brother on Facebook on Sunday reading:

‘My baby brother… one of a kind you are. You sleep tight. A beautiful, kind soul gone. Just taken 16 years so young and innocent oh my heart is broken.

‘I really hope you know how much we love you. How much I love you. You will be missed kiddo I’ll always look out for you in every sunset, shine bright lil’ bro.’

Another serious incident took place in St Pauls on February 4th when a 14-year-old was stabbed while playing football. He was taken to hospital and has since been released and returned home.

The boy was approached by two teenagers on bikes, one of whom stabbed the victim.

A 14-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent. The other teenager is suspected to have been 16 or 17.

At 8pm on Thursday 9th February a 16-year-old was stabbed at the City Centre McDonalds and is now in hospital in critical condition.

McDonalds, The Horsefair, where a 16-year-old was stabbed - image credit Google

Police have charged 19-year-old Joel Binnings with attempted murder over the incident. Three others were arrested in connection with the event though they have not yet been charged.

Darrien Williams, 16, was then stabbed to death in Rawnsley Park, Easton, at around 6pm on Valentines Day, taking the number of teenage fatalities to three in as many weeks. He was attacked by two masked individuals on bikes.

Two boys, both 15, were charged on suspicion of murder on February 18th.

Avon and Somerset police have responded to the incidents by increasing stop-and-search powers in parts of Bristol and stepping up patrols near schools. A new proactive police operation targeting youth violence has been launched with a specific focus on hotspot areas.

The enhanced stop-and-search powers apply to Bristol city centre, St Pauls, Easton, Temple and Fishponds and leave officers able to search anyone without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Peter Warren said: ‘Children and young people are being seriously injured and killed on the streets of Bristol and this needs to stop.’

‘Knife crime is a national problem and not something policing can solve on its own but we recognise there is an ongoing issue in our city which we need to put significant resources into to address.

‘The two people who carried out the attack in St Philips last night wore masks and by authorising the use of enhanced stop and search powers we are empowering officers to ask people who are within designated areas of the city to remove their masks, without having to have reasonable grounds for suspicion they may be involved in criminality.’

Featured Image: Avon and Somerset Police

What do you think is behind the recent rise in these tragic events?