The mother of an 11-year-old Victorian boy murdered by his father at cricket training has described her son as a sensitive boy who enjoyed his sport and, most of all, loved his dad.
Luke Batty was killed by his estranged father, who was then fatally shot by police, in front of horrified children and parents at the Tyabb cricket oval on Wednesday evening.
Paramedics tried to revive the boy, a year six pupil at Flinders Christian Community College, but he died at the scene from head injuries.
The interim police investigation has indicated Greg Anderson had a premeditated plan to kill his son and then commit ‘suicide by cop’.
Police say he had left his car at home and gone to the oval via train, while he was also seen bowling balls to his son as practice was winding down.
Witnesses told police he then struck his son in the head with the bat.
Luke's devastated mother, Rosie Batty, was at the cricket ground when the tragedy unfolded: “I'm in shock, disbelief, but (I've had) amazing support from family and friends.
"My family are from England and they are coming out now."
Rosie said she had to be convinced by police that Luke's dad, Gregory Anderson, had murdered their only son.
"He loved his son. Everyone that's involved with children would know that whatever action they take is not because they don't love them.
"No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him."
She revealed she had been the victim of family violence and believes that her former partner had suffered from undiagnosed mental illness for two decades.
She said she had an AVO against Greg, but insisted he loved Luke and did not believe he would ever hurt their son.
In fact, Rosie said Luke was the 'only bright light' in his dad's troubled life.
"He knew his dad had problems, but a son loves his father.
"He felt for his dad. He knew his dad was in a sad place.
Under the conditions of an intervention order, cricket practice was one of the few locations Anderson could be in the company of his son.
Police have not released details of the attack on Luke but Commander Fryer said the boy's injuries were "quite brutal".
"I can confirm that the young boy has died of significant injuries. I'm not going to go into the detail of how they occurred or what they were," Commander Fryer said on Thursday morning, adding that the case had been passed to the coroner.
"We've had an absolute tragedy here," he added.
"It's a horrific scene."
Commander Fryer said four officers who went to the oval on Wednesday evening were confronted by the man armed with a knife and tried to talk him down, also using capsicum spray.
Anderson, a 54-year-old Chelsea Heights man, was shot once in the chest and died in The Alfred hospital at 1.30am on Thursday.
Comm Fryer said police acted in accordance with their training.
"It was certainly a dynamic situation. They were confronted with a critical incident and they used the options they thought best."
Young children, including Luke's teammates, were among the witnesses police are speaking to.
Paying tribute to her son, Rosie described Luke as a funny and effervescent boy with a passion for cricket and footy.
"Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was sensitive. He loved his dad and he felt pain because his dad, he knew, was struggling.
"He enjoyed his footy, he enjoyed his cricket. He has drama, he was effervescent, he was funny.
"He wasn't the best scholar, but he was intelligent. He enjoyed his school at Flinders.
"He was a little boy in a growing body that felt pain and sadness and fear for his mum, and he always believed he would be safe with his dad," she said.
"He always believed he would be safe with his dad and he trusted Greg.
"[I told him] 'you'll always love your dad. You won't always like what they do or say, but you'll always love your dad, and he'll always love you'."
Community in shock
Flinders Christian Community College executive principal, Jill Healy, said the community has pulled together as it reels from the shock of last night's tragedy.
"We have been devastated overnight by the news of the tragic loss of one of our students.
“The loss of any child is always devastating, so there’s great grief around the campus today - this is really tough.
"Our parents are coming together to share their grief. There’s a lot of tears, and it’s good to see the way our community draws together at times of tragedy."
Support and counselling is being offered to staff, parents and pupils.
"We’ve had a period of time to put into place support for our school.
“This morning we have conducted briefings with our parents, students and staff so that we can tell them as much as we know.
"We are also joined by other counsellors from our local schools, who have been very generous in providing support and from local churches.
"Support us with love and prayers, especially the family who have been devastated by this incident."
Wayne Carter, Luke's former cub leader at 1st Tyabb Scout Group, said Luke was an enthusiastic and determined member of the scouting club and would be sorely missed.
"He was an individual. He had his own way of doing things but he was outgoing, he would give anything a try even if it didn't quite work the first time," Mr Carter told Fairfax Radio.
"He was always willing to help.
"He moved up, did lots of badge work, he was just everywhere. He went to everything, he was a major part of the group.
"He embraced everything he did with gusto."
The community is reeling from the tragedy, with locals struggling to understand how a father could kill his son.
Trent Gunery, 15, said he had seen the boy around the small town.
"I'd seen his face around," he told AAP at the ground.
"I met him through the cricket club and I've seen him here once or twice before."
Trent said he learnt about it on Facebook.
"I was just devastated," he said.
"Nothing happens in Tyabb, it's a small community, there's nothing.
"When something does happen like this, it's really big."
Wally Rachid showed up at the Tyabb oval on Thursday with his 10-year old son Jad to lay a purple bouquet near a stretch of police tape near the goal posts.
"Shocking, absolutely shocking," he told reporters.
"It's a big loss for the whole town, the whole area.
Mr Rachid said it is hard to explain to a child how something like this could happen.
"You don't call this a father," he said.
"No father in the world can do this to his son.
"He's not doing anything wrong, just playing cricket.
"What's behind it, I don't know."
Mr Rachid, who has a shop in the main street of Hastings, says everyone is in shock.
"People, they walk in with a different face," he said.
"People are shocked. Everybody's talking about it."
A delivery man arrived to place a box of flowers on the oval, while a woman laid a bunch of yellow carnations at the door of the Tyabb Football and Cricket Club.
Taylor Cuthbertson, 15, visited the sports ground to pay her respects.
"How could you harm anyone - but an 11-year-old boy?" she said.
A friend saw the attack and is having difficulty coping, she said.
"He's really down. He's just completely empty."
She said she didn't know Luke.
"All I heard was that he was down here and his dad and him had an argument beforehand and his dad came and got him."
She said the small community was "like a family" and many planned to come and place flowers at the site.
"It makes you so numb to think this is happening in such a small town," she said.
A woman who came to lay flowers on the oval said although she does not know the family personally, her thoughts are with the mother.
"I don't know how that poor woman's feeling but you can only try and empathise with her," the woman, who did not give her name, said.
"It's devastating, nothing that you'd ever want to deal with, really."
Meanwhile, tributes to the slain boy are mounting on social media.
An "R.I.P. Luke Batty" page set up on Facebook has attracted thousands of `likes'.
Jack Whitehouse posted this message on a special Facebook tribute page: "Rip young fella. I'm sorry I wasn't there another five minutes to help you out!! We didn't talk very much at all but you go to my school and you trained next to me at cricket. To go at such a young age is rough but you're safe now."
Another friend, Kiera Jane, wrote: "R.I.P Luke, You didn't deserve this buddy! Someone who was supposed to love you, care for you and most of all protect you, has now taken your poor innocent life away, it makes me so angry to think that anyone could do this to a child."
Police are urging anyone who saw what happened to contact Crime Stoppers.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au
Tyabb, a suburb in Melbourne's south-east, is home to about 3300 people.