A prominent member of the Jewish community has spoken of his sorrow after a teenager was murdered.
But Rabbi Arnold Saunders stressed he understood police regarded the incident as a targeted attack and that there was no wider threat to Broughton Park residents.
The body of Alan Szelugowski was found at 7.30am on Sunday (January 30) in Clowes Park. He had suffered a single stab wound.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder before later being released on bail pending further investigation.
The location is in the center of a district which has a large Jewish population.
Rabbi Saunders, who is also a Conservative councillor, said: “My first thoughts and prayers are for the family of the boy who has died. I have spoken to a family friend and I understand they are devastated.
“It is such a waste of a young life – a life that was just beginning, with all of it in front of him.
“But I would like to reassure the local community that my understanding is that police do not believe there is a danger to the wider public. This is being regarded as a targeted attack.
“We need to improve security at the park – possibly CCTV being installed – and that is something that is being looked into. Police patrols have been increased. Before this incident there had been three carjackings recently in the same area.
“We don’t know the exact circumstances of this boy’s death but I think it is vital that we should try and do all we can to help youngsters who are potentially vulnerable remain occupied with activities and interests.
“My understanding is that the boy’s family came to this country some time ago. Alan was a pupil at Albion High in Salford. The family lived in Salford first before moving to their current home in Manchester.
“The boy’s body was found at daylight on Sunday but I understand his family had reported him missing the night before. I lost a child myself – in totally different circumstances, through a cot death, but I can comprehend to a degree the devastation Alan’s family must be feeling.”
Fellow Tory councillor for Kersal and Broughton Park, Ari Leitner, said: “Most people in the area don’t take their kids to the park because it’s being treated like a nightclub. There is music, fighting, races and all sorts that goes on there.
“It is a go to place for people all over Great Manchester, unfortunately. It’s become a real hub of anti-social activity. A lot of the residents have been begging for the park to be locked late at night.”
Alan lived about half a mile from the park in Crumpsall.
Inquiries into his death are continuing. Police are urging anyone with information to come forward.
DCI Gareth Davies, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “GMP is continuing its investigation at pace into the circumstances surrounding Alan’s death.
“I would urge anyone who may have information or footage that could assist us and our investigation to get in touch with police as soon as you can.
“Any information, no matter how insignificant you feel it might be, could be a vital part of our inquiries and ensure we identify the responsible person or persons.”
A GoFundMe page has raised more than £1,000 to support Alan’s family.
The person behind the fundraiser, who set up the appeal with the blessing of Alan’s family wrote: “I am the neighbor of Alan’s family and have been for 10 years.
“Alan was such a polite respectful young lad, unfortunately on Sunday morning his body was found in a local park.
“His family are really distracted by this news and unfortunately the parents do not speak English as they are from Poland.”
Anyone with information about the incident in Clowes Park can submit it to GMP at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/06GMP22F20-PO1
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.