A man fatally stabbed in front of a group of teenagers at a youth club has been named locally as 23-year-old Glendon Spence.
He was attacked in a suspected murder at the Marcus Lipton youth centre in Brixton, south London, at about 6.45pm on Thursday.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene in Minet Road less than an hour later, while youths at the club were said to have been left “shocked and traumatised”.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Norman acknowledged that witnesses may fear repercussions as he called for them to come forward over the apparently “premeditated and targeted” assault.
“This was an appalling attack on a young man in a youth centre – a place where he was entitled to feel safe,” Mr Norman said.
“The youth centre was open at the time and sadly many young people present would have witnessed what unfolded.
“Many of them will be shocked and traumatised by what they saw and perhaps fearful of potential reprisals if they speak to police.”
Sandra Smith, whose son was friends with the victim, said her “heart bleeds” over the death of the man, who she said was not involved in gangs.
“He is a good boy, he is not the sort of boy who goes out and gives trouble,” she said.
“He is a quiet boy, very quiet. There’s nothing bad I can say about that boy.”
A relative told the Evening Standard: “It hurts me to hear this because he is young, only 23. He promised to come over my house in the future but now there is no future for him.”
The youth club was surrounded by a cordon on Friday morning as police carried out a “painstaking” investigation.
Pastor and community campaigner Lorraine Jones said she had heard a fight had broken out at the youth club and the man was stabbed.
It is believed the man was stabbed in the groin.
Pastor Jones, whose 20-year-old son Dwayne Simpson was stabbed in Brixton in 2014, added: “All I know was that there was a fight and a young man got stabbed.
“The police were called, they tried to do CPR with a defibrillator, the ambulance came and pronounced him dead.”
Pastor Jones, who lives nearby, said the youth club was one of only two in the area serving around 8,000 children.
She added: “They are under pressure right now. There should be maximum support for the workers to expand and strengthen what they are doing for young people.”
Behind the cordon there was a bunch of flowers that, according to a neighbour, had been left in tribute to 15-year-old Junior Nkwelle, who was fatally stabbed there after a row over football in 2012.
Another neighbour said that there were often young people at the club, with many using its football pitch.
One neighbour said she heard two men had run into the youth club with a big knife and stabbed Mr Spence in front of the other young people.
Maxine Dawson said she had been outside and seen children as young as seven leaving the centre after the attack.
The 46-year-old added: “Two men ran in with a big knife, a big swordish knife.
“There were children of seven years old coming out of there. I can only imagine the way they were traumatised.”
Police are awaiting formal identification of the victim, but have informed his next of kin.
No arrests have been made.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.