Police are investigating the suspected murders over nine days of four teenagers from the same high school in New York.

According to reports on Tuesday (4 October), at least two of the deaths in Brentwood, Long Island are being investigated as gang-related crimes.

The killings are thought to have happened on 13 September 2016 when best friends Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, went for a walk. The same evening, Mickens's body was found on the street while Cuevas's body was found the next day in a nearby backyard. Both had been beaten to death, CNN reported.

According to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini, "gang involvement" has been indicated in all four deaths but he would not elaborate further.

"The only people in Brentwood who have anything to fear are the criminals," said Sini. "That's because there is a tsunami of law enforcement officers at their doorsteps," he said, according to the New York Times.

In the last seven years, between at least 14 gang-related murders have been committed in the town, which has a population of 60,000 and lies 40 miles (64km) east of Manhattan. Now some residents are blaming an influx of immigrants from Central and South America for the rocketing crime rate. Some 68% of the population is Latino or Hispanic with around 17,000 from El Salvador alone.

Local authorities say the town is plagued by the MS-13 gang whose initials stand for Mara Salvatrucha, or "Salvadoran street posse". They have had a presence in the town since 1998, although the gang's base is in Los Angeles.

Local teenagers have spoken of being terrorised and locals from the El Salvadorean community have also complained that the gangs are giving them a bad name.

"It makes me feel bad that people think this of all Salvadoreans," a woman called Ana told the New York Times. "Violence was the reason I left — when they killed my brother. And now we are experiencing the same violence."