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Focus turns to gangs after fatal stabbing

Investigating death: Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith appeals for witnesses (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A man was stabbed to death after a brawl erupted outside a sports club in the early hours of yesterday.

Danshun Swann was killed in the fight, which police said involved more than 20 people, including men who may have gang links.

The 25-year-old was stabbed in the stomach as the fight broke out outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club just after midnight.

Mr Swann died later in hospital. Police said Mr Swann was a shooting victim eight years ago but did not detail how he may have been associated with gangs.

Officers arrested a 28-year-old man in connection with the incident, although he was not directly linked to the murder, and appealed to the drivers of three cars that passed the scene to come forward with information.

Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith said several 911 calls were made about a large fight outside the sports club at 12.10am yesterday.

He explained: “Over 20 males were estimated to be involved in the incident, which spilt on to South Road.

“During the mêlée Danshun was stabbed in the abdomen. He was rushed to hospital by a private vehicle but was later pronounced dead.”

Mr Smith added: “We believe that some of the individuals involved in the fight may be linked to gangs.

“However, police are in the early stages of identifying whether or not this was a gang-related attack.

“A murder investigation is now under way and detectives are particularly interested in speaking with any witnesses to the mêlée or persons that have information about Danshun’s movements in the hours prior to the fatal stabbing.

“In particular, detectives are interested in speaking with the drivers of three private cars that had passed along South Road at the time of the mêlée.

“The drivers of these cars are of particular interest to this inquiry and no one has the right to take a life. If you know something you should say something.”

Mr Smith confirmed that Mr Swann was known to the police. He said: “I can confirm that in 2010 he was the victim of a shooting.

“At this point it is still very early to go into the specifics of any sort of gang relations that he has.”

He added: “We are open and pursuing several lines of inquiry.”

Mr Smith said that witness information was a “sensitive matter” but there were ways to provide it anonymously. He added that “another young life has been lost in tragic circumstances and another mother is left to grieve the loss of her son”.

The killing is the latest of several incidents that have hit the area around the sports club. The murder of Mr Swann came nearly three years after the October 2015 gun killing of Rickai Swan, 26, who was shot in a planned attack on club premises.

Security guards a year later managed to break up a fight in the bar, but after people were ordered to leave, violence erupted in the car park, where two men were stabbed and left fighting for their lives.

A man and woman were injured last October when a gunman drove into the club’s parking area and fired shots.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford confirmed there was an event held at the venue in the hours before yesterday’s killing. He said: “Every Sunday there are social gatherings there.

“We do pay passing attention to that premises every weekend as part of our weekend policing plan and I can confirm also that the Southampton Rangers Club have a full-time security that they hire for events such as this.”

He added the club had closed a short time before the clash as the party being held there had ended and it seemed that as the crowd dispersed the fight happened on the street outside the premises.

One comment on Mr Swann’s Instagram account yesterday read: “One of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met in my life. We’ll miss you.”

Another wrote: “I’ll never forget the kindness you extended towards me always.”

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said: “Engaging in violence to solve disagreements and disputes is not the answer, and I’m saddened that this incident has resulted in another young man being cut down in the prime of his life.

“The ministry has deployed its resources, such as our Co-ordinated Crisis Response Team, to aid in healing in the affected community.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Mr Glasford on 717-0773 or Mr Smith on 717-0864. The Serious Crime Unit can be reached on 247-1739 and the independent and anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline is at 800 8477.

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