Vigil to be held for Bellport High School Central Islip park victims
The Angels of Long Island and the South Country School District will be holding a vigil, tonight, April 17, at 7 p.m., for Jorge Tigre and Justin Llivicura at the Bellport High School.
“We are in the midst of a war,” declared Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini on Thursday after the bodies of four young men were discovered in a Central Islip park late Wednesday.
According to Sini, police were alerted at approximately 8 p.m. Wednesday night to the bodies, which were found at the Central Islip Recreation Center near a soccer field bordered by Clayton Street and Lowell Avenue.
The four victims were allegedly killed with sharp or edged instruments, but have not ruled out other possibilities. “The manner in which they were killed is consistent with the modus operandi of MS-13,” Sini said. Sources say the grisly scene showed the bodies to be brutally mutilated, presumably with bats or machetes.
Initially, multiple sources claimed that two of the victims were from Bellport and East Patchogue. On Friday, Sini confirmed the victims as 18-year-old Michael Banegas of Brentwood, his cousin Jefferson Villalobos, 18, of Pompano, Fla., who was visiting for spring break, 16-year-old Justin Llivicura of East Patchogue and 18-year-old Jorge Tigre of Bellport.
There are also unconfirmed reports of a fifth victim, who was able to run away. Sini declined to comment on that at a news conference on Friday.
Last month, a half-dozen members of the Salvadoran gang MS-13 were indicted in connection with at least seven recent Suffolk County murders, including the slayings of Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, in Brentwood last year.
The morning after the gruesome discovery, Sini reaffirmed the department’s dedication to crack down on gang violence. “We’re going to continue that war,” he said, announcing a $25,000 fastcash reward for any information that leads to the arrest of perpetrator or perpetrators.
Crosses and flowers lined the site as loved ones came to grieve and the investigation continued. “Today is a sad day in Suffolk County, particularly for the loved ones and family members and friends of those who were murdered,” he said. “But we maintain our resolve. It’s all hands on deck until we solve these murders,” he said.
The police are asking anyone with information to come forward by calling 1-800-220-TIPS (8477) or by texting “SCPD” and their message to CRIMES (274637). Police officials said that anyone with information will remain anonymous and that translators can accommodate over 200 foreign languages.
An “outraged” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone weighed in on the killings. “These heinous acts will not go unpunished and our communities will not be intimidated by such cowardly violence,” he said in a press release. “I have full confidence that the outstanding men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department under the leadership of Commissioner Tom Sini and Chief Stuart Cameron will do what is necessary to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
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