BRENTWOOD, NY (CBSNewYork) — There was more heartache in Brentwood on Friday, after police positively identified a fourth victim in what they believe is a string of gang violence.
It came on the same day as a funeral was held for a 16-year-old girl who was beaten to death last week.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the deaths have left the community stricken with fear.
Sobs mingled with church bells at St. Anne’s in Brentwood where Kayla Cuevas was remembered as an athlete, and an outgoing 16-year-old who no one dreamed would fall victim to gang violence.
“She was a dear soul to me, great kid. Hard for us all,” Suffolk County Legislator, Monica Martinez said.
The murders left Brentwood residents on alert, and parents are keeping a closer watch on their children, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.
There was a police presence at the funeral, while at Brentwood High School students were warned in a district letter to avoid wearing colors that may be construed as gang affiliated.
A student’s light blue t-shirt was set on fire while walking to school Thursday, he was ordered never to wear that color again.
“I’m here picking up my child. I want them to be safe,” one parent said.
“It’s just a very dangerous time here, and I respect the school’s decision,” another added.
The concern comes as the remains of a 4th victim was identified as 15-year-old Miguel Garcia Moran who had been missing since February.
“Miguel was a good kid,” stepfather Abraham Chaparro said.
Four Brentwood teens have been found dead in just over a week. Cuevas and her best friend Nisa Mickens were beaten to death. Oscar Acosta, 19, had been missing for months. His body was found last Friday.
Police said one MS13 gang member was in federal custody as they turned up the pressure on others. Authorities wouldn’t say how many other teens were missing in Brentwood.
At a second funeral this week, the parents of Mickens cautioned others to watch what their kids text and do on social media.
“What you have seen is a community coming together with love and resolve that this will be a turning point,” Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone said.
The reward in these cases has gone up to $15,000. It’s payable within 48 hours after an arrest, no questions will be asked about legal status or criminal history.
Police said community cooperation is key to decimating gangs.
The colors blue and white, and red and yellow are most often associated with gang affiliation.