Daylight axe road rage killing, school stays closed
A ROAD rage incident could have led to the brutal axe killing of a man close to a primary school in Melbourne's northwest.
Homicide squad detectives said yesterday's killing has been linked to an earlier alleged road rage, assault and theft that occurred about 4pm in Walters St, St Albans.
Just two hours later, a man was beaten to death in front of horrified families in the nearby suburb of Kealba.
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The victim, a 24-year-old Werribee man, was set upon by thugs on a busy road, with witnesses saying three men wielding weapons chased the man across Sunshine Ave, about 6pm.
A crowd of onlookers, including parents collecting their children from St Paul's Keabla Catholic School, watched helplessly as the man was attacked on Fox St.
The victim had his hands up and could be heard yelling "please stop" before the alleged offenders struck him repeatedly, witnesses said.
He was allegedly hit multiple times with sticks and an axe, before being left lying in a pool of blood.
Several parents shielded their children and ran over to help the injured man as they called triple-0.
Paramedics worked on him for more than 40 minutes but he was unable to be saved.
Two St Albans men aged 22, and a third man, 20, have been charged with murder.
Neighbour Damian told Leader he lived close to the alleged killers' home near Fox St and said police were a common sight at the property.
"I came out, there was screaming, yelling, fighting, it wasn't good ... They think they're gangsters and this happens," he said.
Damian described chaotic scenes as the violence unfolded yesterday.
"I saw weapons, I didn't hang around, I rang triple 0, she kept asking questions," he said.
"I said, don't ask questions, just send someone quickly.
"One of the guys in the fight, I think he was friends with the victim, he came over and leaned up on my father's fence, he was scared.
St Paul's Keabla Catholic School and Cradles to Crayons Early Learning and Childcare were both closed on Friday as police continue their investigation.
An alert sent to parents by principal Denis Daly confirmed no one from the school community was involved in the horrific incident.
"All staff are safe," he wrote in the memo.
"As the site is still a major crime scene and likely to remain so throughout the night and into tomorrow (Friday) morning, there is no access to the school.
"The Major Crimes Squad and the Homicide Division of Victoria Police have secured the site, with no access possible.
"School will resume on Monday February 24 at the usual time of 8.50am.
"We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and hope that you can understand that the matter is beyond our control."
A funeral slated to begin at 11am at St Paul's Catholic Church was relocated to St Bernadette church because of the death.
Mother of two Aysha Abdul-Wahed on Thursday said she was on her way to collect her children from childcare when she heard people screaming over the road at the corner of Sunshine Ave and Fox St.
One of the men then bolted across the road, narrowly avoiding traffic, before being pursued by three men.
"It was very, very scary," she said. "We tried to help the man but we couldn't. We shouted out to the men to stop but they didn't. They were adamant to get at him."
She said the man had his hands up and was pleading for the others to stop but they launched into a frenzied attack: "I would say they pommeled him 10 times. There was blood everywhere.
"It was just horrible, it was still really light, there were parents all over the place, lots of traffic driving past, I couldn't believe it."