Hundreds of mourners turned out Monday to pay their respects to a New York City teen whose brutal killing has garnered national attention – including from numerous celebrities.
Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, a 15-year-old who was in the NYPD’s Law Enforcement Explorers program, was dragged out of a bodega in the Bronx and stabbed by gang members on June 20. The attack was captured on surveillance camera footage.
The murder sparked outrage in the community that has built into an online movement. Celebrities including Rihanna and The Game have shared the #JusticeforJunior on social media. Bronx-native Cardi B donated $8,000 to the family’s GoFundMe. NBA star Carmelo Anthony and his wife, actress Lala Anthony, visited Guzman-Feliz’s mother, Leandra Feliz, in her Bronx apartment and stopped by the teen’s vigil set up outside the bodega where he was killed.
On Monday, the line for his wake outside R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home stretched around the block and some people said they stood in line for four hours to see his family inside, ABC 7 reported.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted that Guzman-Feliz had dreams of being an NYPD detective and that officers will “never give up on him”. Shae said that tips have been flooding in and officers were making significant progress in the investigation.
So far police have arrested 19-year-old Kevin Alvarez and charged him with murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault. Police have arrested 6 additional suspects in connection to the murder, Jose Muniz, 21, Jose Tavarez, 21, Manuel Rivera, 18, Danel Fernandez, 21 Santiago Rodriguez, 24 and Joniki Martinez, 24. Officers say the investigation is still ongoing.
Family members have told local news media that they believe Guzman-Feliz’s killing was the result of mistaken identity.