Police say there is “nothing to suggest” the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old boy was racially-motivated.
Detectives investigating the killing are still hunting up to seven attackers after the victim is thought to have been chased into College Road in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham at around 7.30pm on Monday, before being stabbed, West Midlands Police said.
The force launched a murder investigation, flooding the area with officers in the search for those responsible, in the immediate aftermath.
A senior detective moved to answer what he called “speculation in the community” that the attack may have been motivated by race.
Detective Chief Inspector Stu Mobberley, leading the investigation, said: “At the moment, there is nothing to suggest that this is a racially motivated attack.
“What we do know is that this was appalling violence which has cost a young lad his life.
“We still have witnesses to speak to, and I’d urge anyone with information to get in touch with us as quickly as possible so that we can arrest those involved in this appalling attack.”
He said the inquiry had made “rapid progress” although no arrests have yet been made, adding officers were following “a number of really strong lines of enquiry”.
A post-mortem examination is due to be held later.
Meanwhile at the scene, behind a large police corden, a blue forensics tent can be seen along with numbered yellow markers.
Officers have also been supporting the boy’s family, after what police earlier called a “shocking and senseless tragedy”.
Detectives have vowed to leave no stone unturned in their hunt for the “callous individuals responsible – or for anyone harbouring them, knowing what they’ve done”.
Anyone who can help the investigation is asked to contact police by Live Chat on the force’s website, calling 101 quoting log 3313 of 31/5, or calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Labour MP Jack Dromey, whose Erdington constituency includes the area where the stabbing happened, said: “Truly shocking that a 14-year-old teenage boy in Kingstanding was stabbed to death this evening.
“Anyone with any information should contact West Midlands Police.
“My condolences to his family.”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said they were called to the scene at 7.35pm on Monday, arriving within five minutes.
She added: “Crews arrived to find a teenage boy in a critical condition following a stabbing.
“The team of ambulance staff worked together to administer advanced life support at the scene.
“Tragically, despite their best efforts, nothing could be done to save the boy and he was confirmed dead at the scene a short time later.”