A British Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion was stabbed to death over the weekend in London in what police described as a “terrible attack.”
The welterweight champion, 30-year-old Jahreau Shepherd—nicknamed “The Nightmare”—was found suffering from stab wounds at about 10 p.m. on July 11 at the Black Prince Estate in Kennington, according to a police statement.
Metropolitan officials and London EMS said life-saving efforts on Shepherd were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“A man has lost his life and a family has been left suffering unimaginable grief because of the callous use of a knife to inflict fatal injuries,” Detective Chief Inspector at Metropolitan Police Dave Whellams said. “Officers who were called to the incident and then paramedics worked to save him, but tragically he died at the scene.”
(2/2) DCI Whellams: “A man has lost his life and a family left suffering unimaginable grief due to the callous use of a knife to inflict fatal injuries. I will do all I can to get justice for this family + use every available tactic to find whoever is responsible for this attack”
— Lambeth Police (@LambethMPS) July 12, 2020
“I will do all I can to get justice for this family, and, along with colleagues from my homicide teams, I will use every available tactic to find whoever is responsible for this terrible attack,” he continued.
Whellams has been leading the murder investigation and said that “additional patrols in and around the estate and the Kennington area” will be conducted.
“I ask local people to speak with those officers to tell them anything they know about this incident or more broadly about criminals who are active in the area,” he added.
Authorities said a short time after the attack, an unidentified 26-year-old man reported himself at a London hospital because he was suffering from non-life-threatening stab wounds. Both of the incidents are believed to be connected, police said.
Nobody has been taken into custody at this time and Whellams said the “investigation is at an early stage.” Investigators are working on finding more witnesses in the case and hope they step forward or personally contact Crimestoppers and share any tips that could help officials in the case.
Tributes poured in after authorities positively identified the stabbing victim as Shepherd, who held a 6-2 record in professional MMA and was on a five-fight winning streak, MMA news outlet MMANYTT reported.
Shepherd had gone undefeated during his amateur MMA period and won two fights after being about 10 seconds in, the outlet reported.
MMA promoters Contenders released a statement on Instagram dated July 12 following the news of Shepherd’s passing. “Everyone at Contenders is absolutely devastated to hear of Jahreau Shepherd‘s death,” the post, which includes multiple pictures of the champion, reads.
“Jay, our welterweight champion, was hugely talented and great fun to be around, a big personality with a huge smile and infectious laugh. Inside the cage, he was destined for the top—a champion in three different organisations with heavy hands and a warrior heart, it continues. “Our thoughts are with all his family and friends at this terrible time. Rest in peace, champ.”
Shepherd was stabbed during his 30th birthday party, his family told the Evening Standard. His cousin, who was at the party, told the newspaper she had to leave the barbecue early because of her small children. “Everything was fine when I left. Jahreau’s mother is not in a good place at the moment, she is devastated,” she told the outlet.