“However, today’s arrests highlight the determination of both the gang crime squad and regional police to ensure those involved are arrested and ultimately put before the court.”
Detective Superintendent Brigham said police no longer believed the fight was gang-related.
“Some of the people are members of street gangs but the motivation for this incident was not gang-related,” he said.
“I think this is a unique, one-off event that relates to tensions between individuals rather than tensions between gangs.
“It’s lucky nobody was killed in this incident … thankfully in this case their injuries were not that significant.”
He said there was clear CCTV of the incident. Detectives believe the fight started in the apartment and progressed into the lift and foyer.
Police were initially alerted to the stabbing after one of the victims – a 19-year-old man from Dandenong North – approached officers near Southern Cross Station about 2.20am.
He was taken to hospital in a critical condition but was downgraded to stable later in the day, according to Nine News.
The man directed police to the foyer of the Neo200 building, where they found a 19-year-old Langwarrin man and a 20-year-old Berwick man with stab wounds.
The foyer and lift area were declared a crime scene, and the building was searched. Police found about 50 people partying in one of the apartments, where they believe the initial fight and stabbing occurred.
There was an indication some people who turned up to the gathering had not been invited, police said.
About 3.50am on Monday, three 17-year-old boys went to Werribee Mercy Hospital with non-life-threatening stab wounds.
Police initially believed three men who presented to a Fitzroy hospital in the early hours were also involved but have since confirmed they were not involved in this incident.
On Monday, police also said they were concerned about reprisal attacks. However, on Friday Detective Superintendent Brigham said they believed that the arrests would “go a long way in relation to intervening and deterring further attacks such as this”.
Police continue to investigate if there was a breach of coronavirus restrictions given the number of people at the apartment.
In September 2018, police were called to the same high-rise building following reports of 40 young people running wild and fighting inside the building. When police arrived officers found that partygoers had already dispersed, leaving behind significant damage to the rented apartment.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
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Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.