AARON JONES'S mother said her teenage son was a quiet boy and never one to start a fight. But on Wednesday afternoon the 16-year-old died following an after-school fight with a fellow student at Minto's Sarah Redfern High.
Police would not reveal what sparked the fight but it is believed Aaron and the 14-year-old traded punches at 5pm on the corner of Durham and Kent streets, only a few hundred metres from the school gate.
At one stage in the fight, Aaron stumbled backwards before he collapsed to the ground.
Phyllis Foster, who lives on the corner of the streets where the boys fought, said this morning that she saw the immediate aftermath of the brawl.
"We saw the boy lying on the ground and there was another boy trying to get him to move or breathe," Mrs Foster said.
Mrs Foster and her husband rang the emergency services, who administered CPR.
"The police were pumping on his chest trying to save him," she said. "It looked obvious they couldn't revive him."
Aaron worked delivering papers to homes in the area, including Mrs Foster's. She said he and the other boy in the fight were neighbours.
"He lives two doors down, on the other street," she said.
"The two families might not know each other personally but they would know of each other. It's a very close community here in Campbelltown."
Inspector Mark Kellert of Macquarie Fields police said this morning that he understood that Aaron was bigger than the younger boy he was fighting with.
"It's very unusual," Inspector Kellert said. "It doesn't sound like anything that took place at the time [of the scuffle] would cause his death."
A passer-by gave the teenager first aid before he was treated by paramedics and taken to Campbelltown Hospital, but he died a short time later.
A post-mortem examination of Aaron's body proved inconclusive, police said this afternoon. But they added that "available evidence doesn't indicate his death was a result of a physical altercation".
No weapons were used by either boy and the Herald has been told there was no clear indication physically what might have caused his death.
The victim's mother, Tracey Jones, last night said her son had been bullied at school.
"He was just a really quiet, generally gentle person who walked away from trouble," she told Channel Ten.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Brett said "some issues" had existed between the boys over a period of time but it was too early to know what prompted Wednesday's altercation.
"While they went to the same school, we don't believe it's school-related. We believe it's related to issues outside of school," he said.
Inspector Brett said Aaron's death highlighted the danger of children getting involved in violent schoolyard fights.
"While I don't think the intention was to cause any serious injury, unfortunately in this case, a young man's died," he said. "It didn't need to happen. Those boys didn't need to fight and, if they hadn't, we wouldn't be having this discussion now."
Counselling was being offered to students at Sarah Redfern High, many of whom laid flowers at the scene of the fight yesterday.
Police said several people saw the fight and urged anyone who witnessed it to come forward.
- with James Robertson