CENTRAL ISLIP, Long Island - The bodies of four men, apparent homicide victims, were discovered in Long Island park Wednesday night.
They were found at the intersection of Lowell Avenue and Clayton Street in Central Islip, and Suffolk County police say there was "significant trauma" on the victims. They were not immediately identified, but authorities said they were a 16-year-old, two 18-year-olds and a 20-year-old.
There was no vigil Thursday night because parents say they've become prisoners in their own homes, and don't let their kids walk home alone because gangs have taken over the streets.
The Guardian Angels, Suffolk County police, and the FBI were the only ones out on the streets, after four bodies were found in a heavily wooded area, right by a soccer field in Central Islip.
More gruesome casualties in a community plagued by gang violence.
"This is a long term war. Make no mistake about it, it's a war. This is a sad day in Suffolk County," said Commissioner Tim Sini, Suffolk County Police Department.
The bodies were discovered Wednesday night. The victims were viciously stabbed all over their bodies, a manner consistent with gang violence.
Police believe they were murdered where they were found.
"We are not releasing the date or time they were killed, but these homicides occurred within the past few days. This is one incident," Sini said. "He was beaten to death. Brutally. It wasn't like they shot him and left it. They beat him to death brutally."
The murders are all too familiar for one teen who says he lost his brother to gang violence a year ago.
He plays basketball by this soccer field, but when the sun goes down he knows not to be out. "I pray for those families because I know the pain that they're going through. That pain it hurts. I can feel their pain. It's nothing new to me," he said.
"It's a cycle. It's a cycle," Elizabeth Alvarado said. Her daughter, Nisa Mickens, was murdered last year in Brentwood in a similar attack.
She's now left with a scar that never heals. "It's the worst pain that any mother could feel," Alvarado said.
A mother told Eyewitness News she was too afraid to hold a vigil. She said they've had enough. Gang members, she said, the kill for excitement.
Gang violence has been a problem in Central Islip, Brentwood and other Long Island communities for more than a decade, and eight arrests last month in deaths of Mickins and Kayla Cuevas were the culmination of a long-term sweep by federal officials and Suffolk police targeting gang members.
Earlier Thursday, a group waiting at the scene in Central Islip was hoping for some news about their loved ones.
William Tigre, of Bellport, said he got a phone call Wednesday night from a friend who said he saw Tigre's brother George murdered. That friend, Tigre said, is also missing now.
"He is the one who called me and (said), 'I see your brother getting killed. I'm the one who escaped,'" Tigre said. "How did he escape? I show all that to the detective."
Frany Novoa said her 21-year-old son William is missing. "They're kids," she said. "I don't know what they're involved in, who they're around."
Sixteen-year-old Justin Llidicura's cousin, who didn't want to be identified, said Llidicura told him Wednesday he was going to the park. No one has heard from him since.
"When his parents woke up, he wasn't at home," he said. "So they called his phone multiple times. He never answered. It just went straight to voicemail. The phone was cut off. That's when they got worried, because it was almost like a full day."
A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to arrests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.