Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater were killed in Brentwood, Essex, The Mirror understands, leading to the arrest of eight men who are in custody on suspicion of murder
The two teenage boys stabbed to death in Essex have been named locally.
Sources confirmed to the Mirror that the victims are Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater, both understood to be 16.
Eight men remain in custody on suspicion of their murder.
The suspects are aged between 19 and 49.
Detectives believe the attack – which took place in leafy Brentwood in the early hours of Sunday – was targeted.
A possible theory is that a prior “disturbance” in another part of the town spilt over into the deadly altercation on Regency Court.
Anyone who saw any “suspicious activity” between 10pm on Saturday and 5am yesterday is being asked to come forward.
Det Supt Stephen Jennings, of Essex Police, said: “One of the possibilities…there was a precursor incident that took place.
“We are exploring that. As I said, we do think the two groups did know each other.”
Mourners continued to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial site on Monday.
People have laid flowers, tied balloons to a road sign – and even left a bottle of soft drink and chocolate bars.
Many of the messages have been made out to ‘Charlie’ and ‘Frankie’.
‘Frank’, ‘Champ’ and ‘F+C’ have also been spelled out in candles.
ROB WELHAM / McLELLAN)
One griever said of Charlie: “He was really happy and bubbly. He was a really good kid.”
A tribute posted to Frankie online said: “Sleep tight handsome…can’t believe I’m actually writing this and ur name in the same sentence, heartbroken is an understatement!
“All the pain that has now been left behind cos of these evil selfish people.”
A note at the scene read: “Frankie, love you boy. I don’t no what to do without you.”
One of Frankie’s relatives took to Instagram and paid tribute to her “one of a kind” cousin.
She said: “Words can’t put into perspective how much my heart has broken.
“It’s physically causing me pain I’ve lost my cousin. I can’t believe you’re gone it seems like I’m lost in a nightmare.
“Our whole family love you Frankie Gater. Rest in perfect paradise.”
“You always made me laugh and I’d be so excited to see your face.
A friend of the boys added: “Words can’t explain how I feel about losing my brother CP and you to Frankie, forever be in my heart.”
Another of Charlie’s friends said in a heartfelt tribute: “I promise you I’m gonna make you so proud and I will always be thinking of you Charlie.
The tragedy has rocked Brentwood, well known as a popular filming spot for the show ‘The Only Way Is Essex’.
Local MP Alex Burghart told the BBC: “We don’t really have too many events like this in our town so to lose two 16-year-olds so needlessly and senselessly… has left us all very upset.”
Essex Police confirmed eight men remain in custody on suspicion of murder.
Five are from Grays, two from South Ockendon and one from Brentwood.
A third person was treated for injuries sustained in the incident, which took place at around 1:30am.
Their wounds are not thought to be life-threatening or life-changing, police said.
Det Chf Insp Stuart Truss said: “Our team is continuing to investigate the circumstances which led to two teenage boys sadly losing their lives in Brentwood in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“At the moment, we are exploring numerous lines of enquiry which include assessing hours of CCTV which show the area in question.
“I am also echoing an appeal for anyone who was in the Crown Street area of Brentwood between 10pm on Saturday and 5am on Sunday morning to come forward and speak to us if they have not already done so.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting incident 125 of October 24.