A teenage actor who will appear in the forthcoming "Harry Potter" movie was stabbed to death in a brawl outside a south London bar early Saturday, police said.
Rob Knox, 18, was caught up in a fight outside the Metro Bar in Sidcup just after midnight, London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The teen's death, less than two weeks after another youngster was brutally slain only a few miles away, has focused the British capital's attention on knife crime.
Knox plays Ravenclaw student Marcus Belby in "Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince," the sixth cinematic installment of the wildly popular Harry Potter series, set for release this fall. Warner Brothers said it was shocked by the news.
Knox was one of five young men and boys taken to various hospitals across the capital after the brawl, police said. Among them was a 21-year-old who has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The fight did not appear to be gang-related, police added, but it puts the number of violent teenage deaths in London at 14 so far this year. Knox played on the same rugby club as another recent teenage victim, Jimmy Mizen, who was fatally stuck with a piece of glass outside a south London bakery earlier this month after refusing to take part in a fight.
England and Wales' homicide rate is more than three times lower than that of the U.S., according to 2005 statistics, but the parade of young victims on the nightly news has disquieted Londoners.
The city's new mayor, Boris Johnson, won election on promises to tackle violent crime. And the Metropolitan Police have recently kicked off an aggressive new program to search anyone they wish for knives without having to justify their suspicions beforehand.
England's children's commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, has warned the searches could backfire if they build hostility among young people.
"There is a balance here," Aynsley-Green told British Broadcasting Corp. television Saturday. "On the one hand for young people to feel safer by having the presence of the police, but on the other hand making sure the new powers don't create further antagonism by increased stopping and searching."