Lesandro Guzman-Feliz

NYPD

Family, Friends Bid Final Farewell To Slain Bronx Teen Lesandro Guzman-Feliz

June 27, 2018 - 8:17 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Family and friends will gather Wednesday to say goodbye to a 15-year-old from the Bronx whose dreams of becoming a police officer were cut short by gang violence last week.

Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, known as "Junior" in the Belmont section of the borough, was dragged out of a deli on the corner of Bathgate Avenue and East 183rd Street last Wednesday and stabbing him repeatedly in the neck. He managed to run a block to St. Barnabas Hospital, but he didn’t survive.

Outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on 187th Street, it was a mix of friends, family members, police officers, and young up-and-coming police officers, WCBS 880’s Mack Rosenberg reported.

Lesandro himself was a member of the NYPD Explorers program and hoped one day to become a police officer.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan called Lesandro’s slaying one of the more brutal crimes he has ever seen.

Inside the church Wednesday morning, the Rev. Jonathan Morris said, “We welcome in a special way the Explorers to this church, as a sign of your love for Junior.”

Morris expressed the anger many mourners are feeling about a need, they say, to end gang violence.

“He didn't want to move up. He didn't want to become a captain. He wanted to become a detective,” said NYPD Auxiliary Officer John Grace. “He wanted to do ground work. He wanted to be the first on scene to help people.”

Grace said the boy known affectionately as Junior would have been a great detective.

Morris said the entire community stands with Junior's mother.

"We are going to pray with her and we are going to be there for her, not just today, but in the long run and that means also seeking justice for the other kids who are getting caught up in gang violence," Morris said. "We are saying that that also needs to be responded to and we need to find a solution so that these kids who are living empty lives don't get attracted to the emptiness and the evil of gang life."

Morris said this murder is a wake-up call to end gang violence.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time but there should be no wrong place and wrong time for an innocent kid who's trying to have a great life and a great future ahead of him. We have to find out how are kids getting involved with these gangs, we have to stop the gangs, work with the police to make sure that there aren't gangs roaming these streets so that something like this doesn't happen in the future," Morris said. "Junior is one who said no to the emptiness of street life and said yes to a future of hope and of progress. That's not easy to do when there's kids your age in your neighborhood who are choosing the wrong way. Junior stands for us as an example for all of us to follow."

Eight suspects have now been arrested in the murder, which NYPD Chief of Department Terrence Monahan said is one of the most brutal crimes he's ever seen.

Six of the suspects, who were arrested in Paterson, New Jersey, will be brought back to the Bronx on Wednesday to face charges of murder and manslaughter.

A seventh suspect – Kevin Alvarez, 19 – pleaded not guilty Monday night to charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and gang assault charges.

An eighth -- Elvin Garcia, 23 -- was arrested Tuesday.

Police said the defendants were part of the Trinitarios gang.

Lesandro’s family has set up a GoFundMe page titled “Justice for Junior,” which has raised more than $270,000.