The 14-year-old is understood to have been chased in College Road, Kingstanding, by a group at around 7.30pm before being stabbed.
He collapsed in the road and was pronounced dead a short time later; a post mortem examination confirmed he died from a stab wound to his chest.
Dea-John’s family is being supported by a specialist Family Liaison Officer at this tragic time and they have now formally identified him as the victim.
In a tribute they described him as an “incredibly talented young boy”.
Police arrested six people yesterday on suspicion of murder. Four men in their 30s and two boys aged 13 and 14 remain in police custody.
Det Ch Insp Stu Mobberley from the Homicide Unit said enquiries are progressing and his team are investigating the circumstances surrounding the stabbing.
He said: “New information is coming into the enquiry all the time and being assessed.
“As the investigation has progressed we now believe there was an incident involving Dea-John and his friends shortly before the murder. That quickly escalated, resulting in Dea-John’s tragic death.
“During this precursor incident racist language was directed at Dea-John and his friends; that’s now being investigated.
“We’re still appealing for witnesses, anyone who saw or heard anything that could help our investigation, to get in touch so we can build up a clear picture of what happened.”
As part of the investigation, officers are looking at previous incidents involving the victim and West Midlands Police have voluntarily referred the case to the IOPC.
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.