Police have arrested five gangsters in the Bronx in connection with the brutal murder of a 15-year old boy.
The victim, Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, was believed to have been killed by mistake. His friends and family say that he was mistaken by his attackers for someone else, the real target of the violence.
Guzman-Feliz, usually called “Junior”, was attacked inside a bodega in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx on June 20th. Video shows the victim being dragged from the bodega onto the street by a group of attackers. Another man then arrives, carrying a large knife.
Guzman-Feliz was then stabbed, repeatedly, in the neck, before he managed to break free from his attackers. He ran to Saint Barnabas Hospital nearby, but unfortunately doctors couldn’t save his life.
Junior Guzman-Feliz was popular in his neighborhood. He had nurtured dreams of becoming an NYPD detective when he grew up. His mother says that, before the attack, he had left their apartment to go lend a friend $5.
He never returned to the apartment.
After police offered a reward of $25,000 for any information leading to an arrest, they managed to track down several suspects. Three of the suspects were arrested in New Jersey, while the other two were captured in the Bronx.
At least one attacker has also been connected to another stabbing, of a different teenage boy. One suspect in the case, 19 year old Kevin Alvarez, has already been charged with second degree murder and gang assault.
The remaining suspects have not yet been charged.
Cases like this are always tragic. It’s always a sad day when one young life is cut short by the violence of other young men determined to show a harsh world that they are tough enough and cruel enough to deserve respect.
But these crimes are particularly tragic when they involve victims who were themselves uninvolved in criminal behavior. Is it sad when young gangsters kill each other? Yes. Because any loss of young life is sad, a tragic result of our country’s many bone-deep flaws.
But it’s even more sad when good kids get cut down by gang violence, because the world loses more than just a young life in that situation. It loses somebody who could have been a force for good in a world that desperately needs more good kids to grow up and become good cops.
Junior Guzman-Feliz wanted to do something productive with his life. He didn’t want to be an actor, or an athlete, or a rapper, or a gangster. He wanted to protect and serve.
The loss of his life is a double tragedy, then, for a world that needs more kids with dreams like his.