Gang violence in Brentwood has caught the attention of President-elect Donald Trump, according to a Time magazine profile published Wednesday.
Trump, who was named the magazine’s Person of the Year, cited Newsday’s front-page coverage of gang violence in Brentwood in an interview with the magazine.
Speaking to a Time reporter in the dining room of his Trump Tower apartment, the president-elect, according to the profile, “promptly stops the interview in its tracks” and said “let me go upstairs for one second and get you a newspaper article.”
Trump returned moments later holding a copy of Newsday’s Nov. 28 edition, which featured a front-page story headlined “Extremely Violent Gang Faction.”
The story, written by Newsday reporter Robert E. Kessler, noted that federal investigators were looking at young members of a street gang, composed of recent arrivals to Long Island, in connection with as many as six killings in the area.
According to the Newsday story, sources described the newcomers as hailing from Central America and as an “extremely violent group of about a dozen members of the MS-13 street gang.”
Trump, who has called for increased border security and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal records, cited the story to bolster his case for tougher immigration laws, according to the Time article.
“They’re coming from Central America. They’re tougher than any people you’ve ever met,” Trump said. “They’re killing and raping everybody out there. They’re illegal. And they are finished.”
Suffolk police have been working with the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force to address the recent string of Brentwood slayings and disappearances that include the September deaths of Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, who were beaten to death with bats and machetes.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District who are working with the task force have won the convictions of several hundred MS-13 gang members on Long Island since 2002.