A boy whose life hangs in the balance was the victim of an alleged coordinated attack by a group seeking retribution, Queensland police believe.
The group of young adults and children have been accused of inflicting “staggering” and “vicious” violence on the boy and displaying gang-like characteristics.
Nine people, aged 15 to 19, have been or will be charged with attempted murder of the 17-year-old in a Milton unit, in inner-Brisbane, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Another three people are sought by police.
“(The group) violently and viciously assaulted the victim. We’ll allege it was a cowardly attack by a group upon a young, defenceless man,” said Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming on Wednesday.
The alleged attack was preceded by a social gathering in the unit, before most people had left.
The group of 12 alleged attackers were allowed into the unit by someone inside, Fleming said.
He said the motive is “to be determined but we suspect there was some sort of potential retaliation between two groups of these young people”.
However the victim was in “no position to defend himself” and the level of violence was unjustifiable, the detective said.
“A young man through no fault of his own lies in a critical condition,” Fleming said.
“Family and friends are traumatised. This is a life-changing event for this family.
“He is currently gravely ill in hospital. He’s unconscious. He has life-threatening head injuries.”
The accused are predominantly from Brisbane’s southwestern region and Ipswich.
Both the victim and alleged offenders are of African heritage, Fleming said.
“Some of the young people involved label themselves as being members of a gang,” he said.
“We’re not seeing organisation and structure. But what we are seeing … (is) this group of people came together, they acted in concert, we will allege, violence was perpetrated on an individual and they left together.”
He said the group was “brazen” and appeared to be “uncaring” about the prospect of being caught.
“The level of violence is staggering and entirely unnecessary,” Fleming said.
He urged people not to “turn on” Queensland’s African community in the wake of the incident.