A makeshift memorial with balloons, candles and flowers marks the spot where the body of 15-year-old Nisa Mickens was found Tuesday night in Brentwood, Long Island. Less than 24 hours later, the body of her friend, 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas, was found in nearby woods. Both girls were brutally beaten.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini says there are indications that the two teenage girls were murdered by gang members. He says the killings show a depravity and indifference to human life.
“These murders show a level of brutality that is close to unmatched. I was a homicide prosecutor before I was police commissioner, and these are some of the worst wounds I have seen.”
Sini would not discuss specifics, but says there were signs of gang involvement at the murder scenes. He says the department is investigating known gang members in the area and that Suffolk police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrests.
Longtime resident Rasul Nasir says the violence is getting out of hand.
“This craziness has to stop. Government people, religious people, community people, all good people must come together and try to put this to an end all across the country. This is crazy,” Nasir said.
Grief counselors are at Brentwood High School, where both girls were students.
School district officials say in a letter to parents and guardians that a vigil in memory of the girls is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Brentwood High School's Frank A. Mauro Stadium.
Attendees are asked to wear the school's green and white colors.