The funeral for 15-year old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz also known as “Junior” held today in The Bronx, New York amidst tears.
Gang members accused of fatally stabbing a Bronx teen in what New York City police called a case of “mistaken identity” allegedly acted on the erroneous belief that the 15-year-old victim had appeared in a sexual video with one of the assailants’ relatives.
The family of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz via social media to acknowledge the assailants targeted him incorrectly — and to apologize for the attack.
“They’re just saying it wasn’t for Junior, it was somebody else, but they confused them and they said sorry and they apologize and they send their condolences,” said a relative of Guzman-Feliz who did not want to be identified, according to CBS New York. “But he’s gone. That doesn’t change anything.”
Junior, an aspiring police detective was murdered by five men who dragged him out of a grocery store and attacked him with a knife and machete.
Authorities on Tuesday announced an eighth arrest in connection with the death of Guzman-Feliz, who was grabbed from a Bronx bodega on June 20 and attacked with machetes, allegedly by members of the Trinitarios, in an altercation caught on store surveillance video.
Junior was part of the NYPD Explorers, a program for high school students.
They reportedly thought he had leaked a sex tape of one of the gang members’ relatives,
The traumatic moment was captured by CCTV. Videos of the aftermath surfaced on social media, showing Junior walking to the hospital located a block away, where he died.
A relative of the deceased told CBS News that the gang members believed to be responsible for the murder said it was a case of mistaken identity. The station said a gang member sent the apology via Snapchat.
“They’re just saying it wasn’t for Junior, it was somebody else but they confused them and they said sorry and they apologize and they send their condolences. But he’s gone. That doesn’t change anything,” the relative said.
Eight suspects have now been arrested, police say. Police got help from social media users who protested with the hashtag #JusticeForJunior and gave details of gang members.
Guzman-Feliz was slashed in the neck and was able to run several blocks to a hospital, but he died from his injuries.
Celebrities like T.I, Cardi B, and Jennifer Lopez are calling for justice for the slain teen.
police sources said the teen and the girl in the sex video both were participants in the New York Police Department’s Explorers program, which guides young people who have expressed interest in law enforcement careers.
The video that allegedly led to the assault shows a young man who looks like Guzman-Feliz performing a rap while the girl was engaged in sex in the background, the New York Post reports.
The eighth person arrested, 23-year-old Bronx resident Elvin Garcia, faces murder, manslaughter and other charges, said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark at a news conference on Tuesday, according to NBC New York.
Six other suspects appeared in a New Jersey courtroom on Tuesday and agreed to be extradited and face formal charges in New York, where they will be assigned new attorneys to represent them, the station reported.
According to a news release from the prosecutor’ office in Passaic County, New Jersey, where the six were arrested Sunday, they are: Jose Muniz, 21, of Paterson, New Jersey; Jose Tavarez, 21, of the Bronx; Manuel Rivera, 18, of the Bronx; Danel Fernandez, 21, of Bronx; Joniki Martinez, 24, of Freeport, New York; and 24-year-old Santiago Rodriguez, of the Bronx.
The seventh man arrested, 19-year-old Kevin Alvarez, of the Bronx, has been charged with second-degree murder and gang assault. According to the New York Times, he has pleaded not guilty and remains behind bars without bail.
His attorney, much like the New Jersey public defender, asked for the public’s patience and expressed condolences for Guzman-Feliz, the Times reports.