Superintendent John Gilligan said several people who were in The Beeches complex in north Dublin know what happened in the lead-up to the attack on Warren O’Connor, 24, outside the apartment block in the early hours of Saturday.
“This began as a complaint about loud music at a party and escalated,” Supt Gilligan said. “We know there are people who were involved in the row who did not mean to be part of such a serious incident.
“We would appeal to those people who were at the party who know what happened to come forward in confidence with any information they might have.”
The appeal came last night after a postmortem examination confirmed that Mr O’Connor, from Ferrycarrig Green, Coolock, in Co Dublin, died of a single stab wound to the chest.
Mr O’Connor, who spent three years in the Defence Forces and who was hoping to join the fire brigade, was visiting friends at the Beeches complex on the Hole In The Wall Road in Donaghmede on Friday night.
It is understood he was among a group who complained to the occupants of another apartment about loud music at about 1am on Saturday.
A row flared and spilled over to a common area in the apartment complex.
Mr O’Connor and two friends got in to a silver ’03 Ford Focus and drove away.
But a gang of up to three men pursued them in a black ’06 Honda Civic along the Hole In The Wall Road and rammed the Ford.
The row, involving up to six men, continued on the road during which Mr O’Connor was fatally stabbed in the chest. He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital but died later.
Three men sped off in the Civic, which was abandoned less than 200 metres away.
Gardaí have recovered a kitchen knife, and are conducting a detailed forensic examination on both cars.
Mr O’Connor’s shocked father spoke yesterday about his son’s death.
“We are in shock, we can’t get our heads around it. He did not deserve to die like this,” he said.
Mr O’Connor was well-known in the area, having played for St Laurence O’Toole’s GAA Club and soccer for Killester.
“He was always a good guy. A lot of his team-mates grew up with him and are totally devastated. He was a huge guy – young, fit and good looking. He had everything to live for,” Killester Utd FC’s manager Joey Graydon said.
A team of 45 officers is involved in the investigation into Mr O’Connor’s stabbing and anyone with information should contact Coolock Garda Station on 01-6664200.