Trump speech stirs reaction in communities hit by gang violence

Posted: Updated:

President Donald Trump was on Long Island today and vowed to combat gang violence, an issue that has hit the communities of Brentwood and Central Islip particularly hard.

On the streets of Brentwood and Central Islip, residents say gang violence is a daily reality.

“It’s a big problem. You got a lot of kids running around, you know, just doing crazy stuff,” says Daryl Snell, who is raising two young kids in Brentwood. Snell applauds the president’s efforts. “I think it’s a good thing. It shows that he do care. Even though I don’t agree with a lot of stuff that he say or do, I kind of respect him for coming here to try to straighten this thing up that's going on here, because it’s a big problem.”

But others like Juvens Paul think the president’s actions are a little too late.

“Why did he wait so long?” asks Paul. “He should have come earlier, like when it first started happening. The only reason why he is here is just to show face. It's not like to solve anything or make anything different, to be honest with you.”

Mom Elida Alfaro, of Brentwood, agrees that something needs to be done about MS-13 but fears the crackdown may result in innocent immigrants being deported. That's something Tinisha Delacruz says she's witnessed first-hand.

“Don't just attack Spanish kids, says Delacruz. “Because I was just recently in jail, and Spanish kids are getting locked up for no reason. Just because they are Salvadorian, Honduran, that’s not fair. Actually look for their records and check if they're really in a gang or not.”

Many people who spoke to News 12 in Central Islip refused to go on camera due to fear of retaliation from MS-13. But for Dominique Snell, the bottom line is that MS-13 needs to be gone. 

“Just get rid of the MS-13,” says Snell. “That's it.”

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