Saturday 19 August 2017

Four bodies found in New York park near area of gang violence

Emergency vehicles are parked near the site where four bodies were discovered in Central Islip. (AP/Seth Wenig)
Emergency vehicles are parked near the site where four bodies were discovered in Central Islip. (AP/Seth Wenig)

Frank Eltman

The bodies of four men have been were discovered in a park in a New York neighbourhood that has for years struggled with gang violence.

The victims, who were not immediately identified, were found in a wooded area near a recreation centre in Central Islip, east of New York City.

Justin Meyers, assistant to the Suffolk County police commissioner, said that the killings all appeared to be "recent homicides".

The discovery of the bodies comes about a month after the arrest of eight MS-13 gang members in connection with the September killings of two teenage girls in nearby Brentwood.

Mr Meyers declined to comment on whether the killings of the four men were gang-related.

Gang violence has been a problem in Central Islip, Brentwood and other Long Island communities for more than a decade, but Suffolk County police and the FBI began pouring resources into a crackdown after the killings of the girls, along with two other Brentwood High School students involved in separate killings, sparked outrage.

Prosecutors said Kayla Cuevas, 16, was targeted last summer by a group of four gang members, including two juveniles, because she had been feuding with MS-13 members at school and on social media.

The posse, which had been cruising in a car looking for gang enemies, attacked when they came across her walking with Nisa Mickens, 15, in the street.

The inseparable best friends were attacked with a machete and baseball bats, officials said.

Nisa "was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, hanging out with her childhood friend", former US Attorney Robert Capers said in announcing the arrests.

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