Jorge Tigre wasn’t at his high school graduation ceremony, but everyone there honored him.
The 18-year-old Bellport High School senior, who police believe was a victim of gang violence, was posthumously awarded his diploma Thursday night at the school’s football field in Brookhaven.
William Tigre accepted his brother’s diploma from principal Timothy Hogan to applause from hundreds of onlookers. The two embraced for a few moments.
“We wanted to put it in the front of the ceremony. That’s where we felt it was the most appropriate,” Hogan said afterward. “We wanted to make sure that [Jorge] got the diploma that he earned. We wanted to make sure that he got the yearbook that he earned.”
The diploma was presented after a moment of silence introduced by graduating senior Isabella Iadicicco, who called Tigre’s April slaying “senseless.”
School officials reached out to the entire Tigre family and invited them to the ceremony, but William Tigre came alone.
“He spoke to his parents and they made the decision to have him represent the family because it’s still very emotional for them,” said Hogan, who noted that Jorge Tigre was one of four students the district lost this year.
Police believe Tigre and the other victims, Justin Llivicura, 16, of East Patchogue, Michael Lopez Banegas, 20, of Brentwood and Jefferson Villalobos, 18, of Pompano Beach, Florida, were killed in a Central Islip park by members of the MS-13 gang. Their bodies were discovered in a pile on April 13.
Since the slayings, local law enforcement agencies have tried to crack down on the gang.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said officers have made more than 200 arrests since the four bodies were found.
In Nassau, a grand jury recently indicted 41 alleged MS-13 members in connection with 32 violent acts since early 2013 that included eight attempted murders.
Despite the arrests and indictments, no one has yet been arrested in connection with the quadruple homicide.