Four people including two teenage girls were being questioned last night over the fatal stabbing of a father in front of children and parents on the school run.
They were arrested along with two young men after 38-year-old Zydrunas Laurinavicius was murdered on Thursday afternoon.
The builder was walking along a street with his father when he was jumped by a gang who tried to run off with his bag.
When he refused to hand it over, they took out knives and slashed his arm and chest, witnesses said. One of the group also attacked his father, who survived only to watch his son die in his arms.
Last night, devastated friends paid tribute to Mr Laurinavicius, a Lithuanian described as a ‘dedicated worker and loving father’.
Officers from the Met Police, meanwhile, continued to question two men aged 19 and 20 and two girls aged 16 and 17 in connection with the killing.
Mr Laurinavicius, who has lived in the UK for many years, had been working with his father Pranas, 67, to renovate a £1.6million detached house in Hendon, north west London.
They were targeted as they walked in a leafy area close to St Mary’s Church of England High School, Hendon School and a nursery as parents were taking children home. Pranas told friends they were jumped by a gang of black youths, who tried to steal a bag his son was carrying.
As the robbery quickly became violent and knives were drawn, two of the gang attacked the younger man, while another punched his father and cut his hand.
Witnesses said good Samaritans tried to revive Mr Laurinavicius as he lay in a pool of blood but he died at the scene.
Newly-qualified doctor Joseph Machta, 26, who was joined by a passing nurse, said: ‘It was awful. We were doing CPR and there were families around, one mother was helping while another woman looked after her baby in a pram. His heart had stopped. We tried to save him but he was so badly injured.’
Mr Laurinavicius was murdered as he walked in a leafy area close to St Mary’s Church of England High School in Hendon, north west London on Thursday
Staff from a Jewish community ambulance service also helped but could be heard shouting ‘he’s gone, he’s gone’ long before paramedics and an air ambulance arrived.
Mr Laurinavicius is said to live with his sister in London. His son, who lives with his mother in Lithuania, was due to visit this weekend along with his grandmother.
The builder’s former boss said: ‘He was a really friendly guy, who liked to make jokes but worked very hard. They tried to take his bag but Zydrunas is a big man, he did not want to just let them steal from him.
‘I don’t understand how they could just kill him like that in the day with so many people around.’
Bystander Jonathan Marriott, a company director aged 43, said: ‘A guy was just minding his own business and he got killed. It is not what you expect to happen in a nice part of north west London.’
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner urged witnesses to come forward, adding: ‘This is a busy area for highway traffic and it was a bright, clear day.’