Manhunt for teen enters third day after 'gruesome' brawl
THE manhunt for an 18-year-old man alleged to have left a 16-year-old girl with a "gruesome" stab wound has entered its third day as police urge the young man to turn himself in.
Police are patrolling the Sunshine Coast this morning to find the man, who is known to them, after he injured the young girl with a box cutter during a brawl at Kawana Shoppingworld on Monday.
Yesterday, Detective Sergeant Chris Eaton warned the 18-year-old police "know who you are" and he should come forward sooner rather than later.
This morning, he has still not been found.
POLICE have made a desperate plea to an 18-year-old man on the run to turn himself in after he's alleged to have stabbed a 16-year-old girl in the throat at Kawana Shoppingworld yesterday.
A manhunt is still under way after the man fled the shopping centre after a brawl between himself and a 17-year-old boy ended in a bloody and potentially life-threatening injury.
Detective Sergeant Chris Eaton said there was bad blood between the 18-year-old man and the 17-year-old boy, and a social media dispute spilt into a physical altercation when the pair ran into each other in the food court at the Buddina shopping centre about 4pm.
He said the 16-year-old girl tried to intervene, but sustained a "significant" gash from her ear to her neck as a result.
"The injury that she received, while non-life threatening, was a gruesome injury," Sgt Eaton said.
"Any injury from a knife could be life threatening. But … a knife injury to the neck is incredibly serious."
Sgt Eaton said the 18-year-old man fled on foot and had not been found. Police patrolled the surrounding area into the night and believe the man may be staying with associates.
"We know who you are. We're aware that you're scared and upset, however, this matter is not going to go away," he said.
The young girl was conscious and breathing and was rushed to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for treatment. She's expected to undergo surgery for the gruesome injury.
Sgt Eaton said CCTV captured the entire incident and it wasn't a matter of "who did it", but when they'd be found.
He said violent incidents involving knives weren't common on the Sunshine Coast or even Queensland, particularly in such a crowded and public space.
"What we do see from time to time is groups of young people who feel it's OK to carry a knife around. The problem with carrying a knife in a public place is you often set into motion a set of circumstances that simply cannot be undone," he said.
"The tendency is if you carry a knife in public and you get into a dispute, you'll use that knife.
"If you use that knife, then all the sorrys and all the tears in the world cannot undo what has been done. It's unacceptable to carry knives for anyone in a public place."
There was a flurry of activity on social media in the hours after the incident, with many naming the 18-year-old man and making violent threats to encourage him to come forward.
Sgt Eaton urged anyone involved to "leave it there" and avoid any further physical fights.
"You have the right to be angry and upset, and you have the right to make comment on social media, but we simply ask that you leave it there," he said.
"You don't service the victim; you don't help the situation by seeking to take the matter into your own hands."
Graphic photos obtained by the Daily show the young victim grabbing her neck as blood pours from the wound, which police describe as about 10-12cm in length and at least 1cm deep.
Sgt Eaton said the man may not have realised the severity of his action until it was too late, and that the girl was "incredibly lucky".
"That's the problem with knives. You have it out and you swing it and sometimes you don't hit something, and sometimes you do," he said.
Police are appealing to the 18-year-old man to turn himself in, and anyone who might know his whereabouts to come forward.
"We know who he is. We understand that he's scared and worried, but we simply ask that he make contact with police," Sgt Eaton said.
He said the man lived around the Kawana and Mountain Creek areas, but had associates in wider areas.
"I can understand (his associates) wanting to help him, but by harbouring him and assisting him, that's not helping.
"If you know him, speak to him and get him to phone the police."
Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers.
A spokeswoman for Kawana Shoppingworld said the safety and wellbeing of its customers, retailers and employees was always priority.
"Our security team attended promptly and are working with the relevant authorities. As this is a police matter we are unable to provide any further comment at this time," she said.