A Bronx street was renamed Wednesday to "Lesandro Junior Guzman-Feliz Way" in honor of the teen who was murdered by alleged gang members in the borough last summer.
"This is a special day," Guzman-Feliz’s father, Elisandro Guzman, said at the renaming ceremony at the corner of 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in Belmont. The family got to take home a copy of the sign. "I’m going to put the sign in the middle of the house."
The teen’s parents stood with his cousins at the ceremony and spoke mostly in Spanish, expressing thanks to the community for its support. About 100 people were at the renaming ceremony.
"Sometimes I can’t sleep because he could’ve been my kid," said Ingrid Garcia, 42, who didn’t know Guzman-Feliz, but goes to all of the court dates for his accused killers. "The community comes together for Junior and his family."
Guzman-Feliz’s brutal murder drew national attention and prompted elected officials to do more to combat gang violence.
"It is Junior’s memory that inspired the mayor and the city council to bring new gang violence prevention services to the 48th precinct," said Bronx City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who worked with the teen’s family to actualize the street naming.
"We should remember Junior not only for the tragic loss of his life in an unspeakable act of violence but also for the lives he has saved and the lives he will save with the legacy he left behind," he added.
The 15-year-old, who was a member of the NYPD’s Explorers program and dreamed of becoming a detective, was on his way home when the group mistook him for a member of a rival gang and chased him into a bodega near the intersection. The suspects then dragged him onto the sidewalk and repeatedly stabbed him with knives and a machete. He died at nearby St. Barnabas Hospital.
The brutal attack was captured on surveillance cameras and was widely shared on social media, along with the hashtag #JusticeforJunior, prompting a slew of tips from the community and leading to the indictments of 14 suspected gang members.
With Lauren Cook