One of the four young victims of a brutal quadruple murder in Long Island, New York, tried to walk away from the deadly MS-13 gang that is suspected to be behind his killing. Jorge Tigre's family said the 18-year-old victim became a target of the gang after the September machete killings of two high school classmates.
Tigre's mother, 43-year-old Bertha Ullaguari, and sister, 20-year-old Monica Tigre, told The New York Daily News that he tried to steer clear of gang members, but instead became a target. After the September murders, Jorge reportedly told Monica: "That's why I don't hang out with them anymore."
Monica told the Daily News that one of Jorge's friends was a member of the notorious MS-13 gang, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha. "He kept his distance from them," she said. "I think they set a trap for him."
Ullaguari confirmed that her son attempted to back away from gang members at Bellport High School after the murder of the teen girls in Brentwood. The girls' murders are just two of six linked to the gang in Suffolk County. Another 18-year-old, Jose Pena-Hernandez, was killed for allegedly violating gang policies, authorities said.
Jorge's mother said the teen's decision to avoid gang members annoyed them. "They had been harassing him at school," she said. "On Sunday, he told his uncle 'They keep harassing me.'" Monica added that her brother stopped going to school due to the harassment.
Jorge was found near a children's playground on Wednesday (12 April) night in Central Islip. The teen's mutilated body was discovered with three other victims, identified by relatives at 16-year-old Justin Llivicura, 18-year-old Michael Banageas and his cousin, 18-year-old Jefferson Villalobos.
According to the Daily News, Villalobos was visiting relatives on Long Island from Florida since Friday (7 April).
The parents of Llivicura told Newsday that their son's girlfriend received a video of the victims' bodies left in the park. Llivicura's parents were able to recognise their son after seeing he was wearing the same clothes he had on when they last saw him.
Investigators believe the gang is also behind the murder of the four latest victims. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini told reporters that the victims "all suffered from significant trauma throughout their body" and that it appeared "they were killed with a sharper-edged instrument". Sini added the vicious killing technique was "consistent with the modus operandi of MS-13".
However, Sini said authorities are not ruling out any possibilities. No arrests have been made since the bodies were found, the Daily News reported.
A vigil for Tigre was held at his Bellport home early on Saturday (15 April), Long Island News12 reported. "He wasn't a bad kid," his mother told the Daily News. "He was a good kid. He was never bad. ...He never did wrong by anybody. He was always very well-behaved."