Ely: Balloons fill sky at vigil to remember teenage boys killed in electric bike crash
More than 1,500 people have attended a vigil in honour of two teenage boys killed in an electric bike crash in Ely on Monday.
Hundreds of balloons, together with fireworks and flares, were released on Friday to remember Harvey Evans, 15, and 16-year-old Kyrees Sullivan, who died moments after they were followed by police.
Many wore t-shirts showing the victims’ faces at the gathering in Snowden Road at the spot where they died.
A moment’s silence was held before the crowd broke out in applause.
It is understood the police were asked not to attend the vigil.
CCTV footage of a marked South Wales Police van following the boys circulated on social media, leading to violent clashes and disorder in the Cardiff town.
Speaking at the gathering, one of Harvey’s uncles said: “We’re all tarred with the same brush here, especially given what happened on Monday.
“But this is the true Ely. Look how many people have turned out to pay their respects.
“The only difference between Monday and today is that the police aren’t here.”
Harvey’s great uncle, John O’Driscoll, said: “What happened on Monday with the riot, that was wrong, the boys were wrong.
“But it was out of frustration.”
“Harvey was my great nephew, we have a big family and we’re all close,” Mr O’Driscoll added.
“They were just young boys. Everyone rides bikes and scooters around here. Yes, we find them annoying but that’s just what they do.
“But as soon as those coppers saw they had no helmets, they should have stopped.”
Nine people have been arrested in the wake of the disorder, which left 15 police officers hurt.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, Alun Michael, initially denied claims of a police pursuit.
But the force has since confirmed a police van was following the boys.
Officers say none of their vehicles were on Snowden Road when the crash happened.
The force referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which has launched an investigation into what happened and is appealing for witnesses.
The police watchdog said it was examining the “nature of the police interaction” with the teenagers and the “appropriateness” of the officers decisions and actions.
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IOPC director David Ford said: “Our investigators have been conducting inquiries and securing evidence in the immediate vicinity of where events took place, speaking to local residents, distributing leaflets and gathering as much information as possible.
“We are working hard to establish the exact circumstances of what took place in the period leading up to the collision.
“I would like to reassure everyone in the community that our work will be thorough, impartial, and independent of the police.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said his thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims, adding that the people of Ely have suffered a “collective trauma”.
Authorities including Cardiff Council have agreed to create a community plan for the town to respond to the long-term needs of residents, Mr Drakeford added.