BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — The father of a suburban New York teenager who authorities say was killed by MS-13 gang members says he’s not discouraged that he lost his race for a Long Island school board seat.
Robert Mickens ran on a slate with two others including a pastor who presided over his daughter’s funeral last September. All three were defeated in elections held Tuesday in Brentwood, a community struggling with a wave of gang violence.
Mickens says he ran to help change the culture in Brentwood and nearby Central Islip, where police have investigated 11 slayings in the two communities since last September; a total of 19 suspected MS-13 killings have occurred on Long Island since January 2016.
“Just because I didn’t win it doesn’t stop my overall goal of helping my community and helping kids,” Mickens said Wednesday morning. “I hope the state sees this as an ongoing issue that needs to be stopped, not only in Brentwood. This is a problem all over the United States.”
Voters elected Maria Gonzalez-Prescod, Julia Burgos and Simone Holder-Daniel as trustees in Long Island’s largest school district. Burgos is a retired Brentwood schools social worker.
Mickens’ daughter, Nisa, was killed on the eve of her 16th birthday. Authorities say that the gang targeted her friend, 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas, and that Nisa happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were attacked with baseball bats and machetes, prosecutors said. Suspects in their killings were arrested in March, though numerous other homicides remain unsolved.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with law enforcement officials on Long Island last month and promised to help them fight gang violence.