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Two further arrests made over deaths of teenagers in Bristol

Two further arrests made over deaths of teenagers in Bristol

A further two arrests have been made in connection with the deaths of two teenage boys who died after being stabbed in Bristol.

The boys, named by police as Max Dixon, 16, and Mason Rist, 15, were attacked in Ilminster Avenue, in Knowle West, at about 11.20pm on Saturday.

Avon and Somerset Police said two men aged 20 and 22 had been arrested in connection with the deaths and join a 44-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy in being questioned by detectives.

Superintendent Mark Runacres, the Bristol area commander, said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the names of the two young boys, Mason Rist and Max Dixon, who died following the incident on Saturday night.

“Any death is awful, but the loss of Mason and Max, who had their whole lives in front of them, is particularly tragic and my heart breaks for the families who have to endure such unimaginable pain and suffering. Our thoughts remain with them during this time.

(Left to right) Mason Rist and Max Dixon were attacked in Knowle West, Bristol and later died in hospital (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)
(from left) Mason Rist and Max Dixon were attacked in Knowle West, Bristol and later died in hospital (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

“We have a team of highly professional, dedicated officers who are working 24/7 to identify those involved in this dreadful incident and bring them to justice.

“Our specialist family liaison officers continue to support and update the families and informed them earlier about the arrests we’ve made today.

“The devastation felt by the community following this incident is clear.

“More than 150 people attended a vigil near the scene on Sunday evening while there was also a large turnout at a residents’ meeting earlier today.

Bristol Police Commander at Avon and Somerset Police Superintendent Mark Runacres
Superintendent Mark Runacres said the investigation was ‘progressing well’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

“I’d like to reassure everyone of our commitment to working with residents, our partners in the council, staff in schools and the many others in the wider community.

“Our investigation is progressing well, with four people arrested so far and more arrests are to come. We are committed to doing everything we can to hold to account those responsible for this horrendous crime and to provide answers to Max’s and Mason’s families.”

The officer told reporters at the scene he did not believe the stabbings were rooted in a “gang war”.

He said: “Bristol is a large city, and it’s described by many as a city made up of many villages.

“There are people who have pride in the neighbourhoods that they come from and that’s part of their identity, but I don’t believe that this is rooted in a gang war.”

Police at the scene of the incident on Sunday (Ben Birchall/PA)
Police arrived at the scene in Knowle West within minutes (Ben Birchall/PA)

Detectives do not yet know whether the suspects and victims were known to each other or whether the boys died in a case of mistaken identity.

No weapon has yet been recovered.

Local residents went to help the teenagers and police were on the scene in minutes to provide first aid.

The boys sustained stab wounds and were taken to two hospitals – Southmead Hospital and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children – by ambulance, where they died in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Flowers and tributes near to the scene in south Bristol
Flowers and tributes were left close to the scene (Ben Birchall/PA)

A vigil was held at the scene of the stabbings on Sunday evening, with people lighting candles and placing flowers.

Tributes included flowers with “Mason + Max rest in peace” written on them, a sign stating “Stop knife crime RIP boys” and a note from Oasis Academy John Williams reading: “In loving memory of Mason and Max, gone but never forgotten”.

Speaking from the scene, anti-knife campaigner Leanne Reynolds, who organised the vigil, said the epidemic of knife crime had to be ended.

“Change has to come. It can happen to anyone, it can happen anywhere,” she said.

“It doesn’t discriminate against colour, it’s not discriminating against areas and we just need to all stand together and stand firm as a community and as a city to get change.”

A 17-year-old student, who did not wish to be named, said she went to school with the pair, adding: “It is so heartbreaking. These two lads were the sweetest kids ever.”

Bristol stabbing
A vigil took place on Sunday evening (Ben Birchall/PA)

Mitchell Lyth, 23, said: “I’ve known Max since he was coming out of nappies. A very quiet kid, very respectful.

“He would never get mixed up in anything. It is just the wrong spot at the wrong time.”

Wendy Radford, who has lived in the area for 72 years, said: “I couldn’t sleep. They have got to do something about the weapons.

“If they took a knife to kill somebody, they should go to prison for life.”

Jonathan Gill, who runs a local corner shop, said there had been anti-social behaviour in the area for years.

“People are afraid to come out on the street,” he said.

“We need safe streets. Our street is not safe at all. It has been going on for at least six to seven years.”

Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, said the incident was a “tragic loss of life”.

“I’m thinking of the victims and their families, going through a pain that no parent should have to experience,” he said.

“We will do all we can to support the families and the local community, working with the police.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the two deaths as “devastating”.

“My reaction to what happened in Bristol starts with the human reaction,” he said.

“This is devastating for the family and friends of these two youngsters. I have teenage children myself, I cannot even imagine what it’s like for the family and friends.”