Nearly 40 people are being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder after a “minor argument” in a shop ended in a man being chased down and stabbed.
A man in his 30s was left fighting for his life in hospital after the incident in Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, in west London, in the early hours of Monday morning.
The Metropolitan Police said the victim was chased by a group of men and women from a nearby shop where the altercation began, while two knives were found close to the scene.
One witness described how they heard someone shout “get him”, before the group took refuge in a nearby flat, and suggested the victim had been stabbed in the chest.
Officers arrested 39 people at a property near the scene after failing to cooperate with police. They were taken into custody at several police stations.
The force was called to reports of a stabbing in the street shortly before 1am.
On Monday morning, a pool of blood could be seen on the pavement outside a branch of Sainsbury’s in Fulham Palace Road.
Shops, including an off-licence, are behind another police cordon on the other side of the road from Sainsbury’s.
Superintendent Mark Lawrence, said: “What appears to have been a minor argument has resulted in a man sustaining life-threatening injuries.
“He has been taken to hospital where he continues to receive treatment for his injuries.
“Whilst it is unusual for so many people to be arrested in the early stages of an investigation such as this, due to a lack of co-operation and the necessity of securing essential evidence following a serious assault, this action was appropriate.”
A witness, who did not want to be identified, said she saw a group of “kids” running back and forth up and down the street immediately before the stabbing and heard someone shouting: “Get him.”
She said: “I heard, ‘leave him, leave him’. The person who must have done the stabbing was shouting, ‘come on then, come on then’.
“I heard, ‘oh no, don’t do it’ and it was a girl’s voice.
“Whoever that girl was, she’s probably the only one with sense there.
“All of a sudden, all of them in a rush together ran in that door (to the flat) together.”
The woman, who talked to reporters with her face covered, said she called the police shortly before 1am.
“I told the lady, ‘they have got a knife. Someone’s going to get stabbed’. At that moment that’s when that guy got stabbed,” she said.
“They must have stabbed the guy outside Sainsbury’s then ran back into that flat.”
The woman said she then saw the victim as he was worked on by paramedics.
“As I got to the corner I saw a guy on the floor. He was stabbed here (in the chest),” she said.
“He was in his boxers, he was breathing. I could see he was skinny”.
Neighbours of the flat in Greyhound Road, where the arrests are believed to have been made, said there were a group of people outside at about 11pm on Sunday, while others could be seen in a first floor window.
Mason El Hage, 22, said he heard noise and dogs barking at around 1.30am and looked outside believing it was a drugs raid.
“I have never seen something like that in my life. It was very extreme in terms of the amount of people involved,” he said.
The graphic designer said: “Three riot vans rocked up and about 50 police officers marched down the road, went into the house next door and brought around 30 to 40 people outside.
“They lined them up and interrogated them for about an hour.”
Mr El Hage said the group, including young men and women were arrested in “single file” in a “very, very swift operation”.
Dahlia Adling, 45, who works in a nearby grocery store said she heard an argument and people running at around 1am.
Ms Adling said she heard “aggressive shouting”, adding: “Just rumbling, it was definitely an argument.”
She then saw a man, who did not appear to be injured, running from the direction of the off-licence across the road.