More serious charges laid after youth gang brawl (+photos)

By Elizabeth Binning

The six teenagers arrested for fighting during a youth gang brawl in west Auckland at the weekend now face more serious charges of wounding with intent to injure.

The brawl in Te Atatu early on Sunday morning left an 18-year-old man in hospital with life-threatening head injuries.

His condition today was still believed to be critical.

Detective Inspector Steve Wood said the six were jointly charged with the more serious offence last night and were due to appear in Waitakere District Court today.

Initially up to 50 youths were reported to be fighting in Halyard St, in the west Auckland suburb of Te Atatu North, but Mr Wood said police now believed only about 25 were involved in the brawl between two youth gangs.

The six teens were initially charged with fighting.

The injured youth was badly beaten about his head and police thought at first he would die.

Bottles and lengths of timber were used in the brawl.

Yesterday afternoon, the spot where the injured youth had lain was cordoned off while police completed a scene examination.

Several dark patches of dried blood were spread about 20m along the footpath, and the road and front of one cordoned-off property was strewn with broken glass and beer bottles.

A letterbox, with smudges of blood on it, lay on its side and police were bagging numerous items as evidence.

Three houses down the road and two cars and a house on the other side were also cordoned off. The garage door was partially down and resting on the roof of one of the cars. A table inside was littered with beer bottles.

One woman said she could see lots of fighting and could hear swearing.

It was not until she saw a girl crying and teenagers looking at something behind a car that she realised someone was injured.

Mr Wood said police would take some time to fully establish what had happened but it appeared there had been a confrontation between rival youth gangs from the two homes.

He said police were still keen to talk to anyone who saw the fight.

In another incident in West Auckland on Friday night, a teenager was stabbed in a New Lynn shopping centre carpark.

The police Eagle helicopter, a police dog and numerous patrol cars spent some time looking for a teenager who had been seen running from the scene but were unable to find him.

The stabbed teenager's condition was not known last night but a St John spokesman said he was taken to Auckland Hospital in a serious condition.

Both fights are believed to have involved teenagers with possible gang connections, although police say there is nothing at this stage to indicate the two fights were linked.

Mr Wood said it was a relatively rare event when youths gangs clashed in a "full-on street clash".

- additional reporting NZPA

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