Eleven charged with murder


By Alesha Capone

Homicide Squad detectives have today charged 11 people, including a 13-year-old from Hoppers Crossing, with murder following the death of teenager Solomone Taufeulungaki in Deer Park earlier this year.

All 11 were previously charged with other offences including violent disorder and affray in relation to the incident, however those charges have subsequently been upgraded to murder.

Those charged include:

• A 15-year-old St Albans boy;

• A 14-year-old St Albans boy;

• A 13-year-old St Albans boy;

• A 15-year-old Burnside Heights boy;

• A 16-year-old St Albans boy;

• A 16-year-old St Albans boy;

• A 13-year-old Hoppers Crossing boy;

• A 17-year-old St Albans boy; and

• A 16-year-old Kings Park boy.

A 23-year-old Hoppers Crossing man and a 20-year-old Sunshine man, who are both currently at a correctional facility, have also been charged with murder.

The next court appearance will be on November 12.

Today’s charges follow an incident on June 16, where 15-year-old Deer Park boy Solomone Taufeulungaki was fatally stabbed.

Emergency services were called, however he died at the scene.

Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill said today’s charges were a testament to Victoria Police’s strong focus on holding those involved in youth gangs and committing extreme acts of violence to account.

“Police understand the adverse impact these gangs have in the community, whether it’s disputes between those groups or the high harm offences they commit on members of the general public,” he said.

“It’s critical that people involved in those gangs understand that police, whether it be investigators from the Homicide or Gang Crime Squads, right through to local police, will ensure all the associated criminality is thoroughly investigated.

“This week investigators from Crime Command have charged 18 offenders with murder in relation to a number of different investigations.

“The real story is what sits behind each and every one of those deaths; families, friends and relatives on both sides of these activities are now without loved ones.

“The constant in many of these deaths is the links to organised and gang-related crime, and the influence and organised nature of these networks cannot be overstated at any level.

“The arrests over the past five days are a strong and demonstrable statement to these groups that Crime Command will be relentless in the tracking and tracing of offenders to hold them to account.”