– The last thing David Cassai said to his Aunt Anita was not goodbye. In anticipation of their family’s next gathering this month, he said: “I’ll bring the food, you do the cooking.”
They were instead reunited, along with 15 other relatives, on Tuesday morning beside his bed at The Alfred Hospital, having been told that the doctors could do nothing to save his life.
Late Tuesday two men were arrested in connection with Mr Cassai’s death.
Homicide Squad detectives arrested a 20-year-old Kilsyth man and a 22-year-old Yarra Junction man, who were helping them with their inquiries. They were released without charge.
David Cassai, 22, from Templestowe, was staying with friends at his parents’ holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula when they were confronted by another group outside a pizza shop in Rye about 1 am on Monday, police said.
He fell and struck his head on a concrete footpath. He died from his injuries about 4 pm that day.
Anita, her husband Sandro Cassai and their children, drove all night from Adelaide, cutting short a family holiday, to see their nephew one last time.
Talking to Fairfax Media, they finished each other’s sentences in an attempt to describe him, using words such as “easy-going”, “calm”, “down to earth”, “respected” and “great kid”.
Ms Cassai chimed in: “Loved good food. He used to love going to Nonna’s house for all the home-made ravioli and lasagne.”
David had recently begun working as a landscaper having finished his apprenticeship.
He was also a fervent Collingwood supporter and played soccer.
David’s parents were shattered by their son’s death, with his father unable to speak since telling his family the news.
His two sisters, Luisa and Elisa, posted tributes on Facebook on Tuesday. Luisa described him as her superstar and idol. “Our family is so lucky to have such amazing friends’, family and strangers’ support,” she wrote.
Elisa Cassai described her brother as a kind and caring joker who brought a smile to everyone’s faces.
Detective Inspector John Potter said CCTV footage captured the brawl and clearly showed the group of five men as the aggressors.
He said police were confident they would be able to identify those responsible for the violence and urged them to turn themselves in.
Ms Cassai said she wanted to know what their motivations had been. “I would like to know why. Why do these people do it and what satisfaction do they get out of it?” – Jane Lee