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Nassau County Police: 3 MS-13 Gang Members Arrested On Attempted Murder Charges

WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police in New York say three members of the MS-13 gang have been charged with attempted murder.

Nassau County police said Wednesday that the victim was slashed with a machete and shot at on Sunday in Westbury, on Long Island.

"I called the police after I heard four gunshots. It sounded like gunshots," Barbara Calabro told CBS2's Emily Smith.

Nassau Police said Calabro was right. They found several bullet casings on the street.

Detectives allege the trio fired the weapon near a 19-year-old man who was standing in front of his home, after first slashing him in the stomach with a machete.

Police said the attack began after one gang member asked, 'why are you laughing,' and the victim responded, 'I can laugh at anything I want.' 

Jose Hernandez, Miguel Urias Arguenta and Fidel Hernandez are all charged with attempted murder. Jose and Fidel Hernandez also face weapons charges.

They were all born in El Salvador and are allegedly in the country illegally.

"All three have demonstrated that they are extremely dangerous people," said Nassau County Police Chief Kevin Smith. "We would encourage anyone else who has been victimized or is afraid of these people, maybe afraid to report it, to come forward and contact the police."

Detectives charge that Jose Fernandez and his brother Fidel are also responsible for a January machete attack on nearby Kinkel Street that left a 19-year-old man with severe facial wounds.

The violence erupted roughly 20 miles from Brentwood and Central Islip, where MS-13 has been linked to 11 corpses found in the last six months.

The attacks have rattled residents, and a former New York City gang member who now counsels students against gang life in several Long Island schools said he's not surprised.

"I have a program in Westbury and some of the kids who are in my program have been intimidated by MS-13," he said.

One Westbury teen who CBS2 declined to identify said he's run into trouble with the gang.

"They think this is like their country and their area, and they don't like when someone looks at them ugly," he said. "It's bad because people are scared of them." 

The bloodshed has gotten the attention of Republican President Donald Trump, who has called it the result of lax immigration policies.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to "demolish" MS-13 in a speech Friday on Long Island.

Federal prosecutors believe MS-13 has thousands of members across the U.S., primarily immigrants from Central America.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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