Late at night, when helicopters thrum overhead and spotlights beam down onto lawns, many people here know exactly what’s going on.
“You just think, ‘Oh, God, whose child is it now?'” said Stephanie Spezia, a longtime resident of this suburb in the heart of Long Island that is caught in the grip of a violent street gang with Central American ties, MS-13.
MS-13 has been blamed for a trail of 11 corpses of mostly young people discovered in woods and vacant lots in Brentwood and neighboring Central Islip since the start of the school year.
….Some parents say they are afraid to let their children go to school. Teens say any perceived slight to a gang member, especially a refusal to join, can mean death.
After one high school warned parents not to let their kids wear anything “gang-affiliated,” gang members started deciding on a daily basis what colors were off-limits, leaving students to guess what not to wear.”