Suffolk County Police have issued an “all hands on deck” into the suspected gang-related killing of four young men this week.
Authorities believe the violent Central American street gang known as MS-13 is responsible for the killing of a 16-year-old boy, two 18-year-olds and a 20-year-old in a park in Central Islip, according to reports.
Police said the victims were all killed with a sharp-edged instrument and suffered extensive trauma to their bodies. Officials believe a machete and baseball bat were used, the New York Daily News reported.
The bodies were found in Recreation Village Park, near soccer fields. No names had officially been released as of Friday. But the brother of the 18-year-old killed stepped forward. He identified the victim as Jorge Tigre. The brother, 21-year-old William Tigre, said someone who escaped the attack told him that his sibling had been killed, according to reports.
A day after the victims were discovered, Suffolk County Police offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said in a news conference on Thursday that authorities were leaning toward MS-13 but added, “we have not ruled out any possibilities at this point,” Newsday reported.
The commissioner put the quadruple killings in stark terms, calling the effort to combat those kinds of crimes “a long-term war,” Newsday reported. Police investigators were working with the FBI on the case.
Authorities say that MS-13 is already responsible for six killings in Long Island over the last several months. Two teenage best friends were among those victims. Police arrested eight gang members in early March in connection with the killings. Officials called that attack one of revenge. The victims, Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, were targeted following a gang dispute at Brentwood High School — four miles from Recreation Village Park — several days earlier, according to the federal indictment against the men.
Suffolk County Police is asking anyone with information about the latest killings to call (800) 220-TIPS.