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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Police name man stabbed to death
Shezan Umarji, courtesy of Lancashire Police
Police patrols have been stepped up following Shezan's death
Police have named an Asian man killed following a mass brawl in Preston on Saturday morning as Shezan Umarji.

The 20-year-old was stabbed in a fight involving about 40 white and Asian men and youths on the city's Callon Estate where Mr Umarji lived.

A number of people have been arrested in connection with the killing and police patrols have been stepped up in the area.

The family of Mr Umarji have appealed for calm in the community.

Family spokesman, Sohail Nawaz, said: "The family are grief-stricken and deeply shocked by the tragedy and are appealing for members of the community to come forward and help police if they can."

Baseball bats

Although the incident involved Asian and white men, police say it is too early to establish whether the attack - which happened at 0045 BST - was racially motivated.

They have allocated about 80 officers to the investigation and had a two-hour meeting with leaders of the Asian community on Saturday afternoon to help reassure families living in the area.

Supt Peter White, from Lancashire Police, said: "It is obviously very early in our investigation and as yet we are unable to establish any motive.

"I can understand why people might think there is a racial element at play but so far, as far as I know, there is nothing to indicate that this was a race crime.

"The community here are very shocked and concerned that this will be made out to be a racist crime, when there is no evidence that it was."

Four people were treated in hospital for injuries sustained during the disturbance, in which knives, bottles and baseball bats were used, police said. They have since been discharged.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about the incident to get in touch.


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The area where the mass brawl took place



SEE ALSO
Stabbed man dies after mass brawl
22 Jul 06 |  Lancashire

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