After 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was dragged from a bodega by gang members and brutally hacked to death with a machete, the leader of the gang had something to say to the boy’s family.
After the Bronx teenager’s murder sparked a nationwide outcry, the leader of the Trinitarios street gang spoke out to say that it was a case of mistaken identity. As the New York Post reported, a “top leader” of the gang sent a message to the boy’s family saying he wasn’t the one the gang members were trying to kill.
“I know it doesn’t mean a lot. It wasn’t supposed to be him,” the message said.
The boyfriend of the victim’s sister said the two-minute Snapchat video apologized to the family and explained that the gang members who stabbed and hacked Lesandro to death were kicked out of the gang.
Immediately after the boy was killed, family members spoke up to say that he was a good student who didn’t get into trouble. He was also interested in becoming a police officer and took part in the NYPD Explorers, a program for young men and women between 14 and 16 who were interested in careers in law enforcement.
As News 12 Brooklyn reported, family members said Lesandro was going to lend some money to a friend when the gang members seized on him, chasing him into the bodega and then dragging him back into the street, where he was beaten and stabbed to death. Many have spoken out against the bodega, saying they did nothing to protect the boy and could have immediately called the police.
Police have released video of the brutal slaying in the hope that the public can help identify the attackers, and there has been an enormous response both locally and nationally. Many celebrities have offered their support, from rapper Cardi B, to Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Many on social media have shared the hashtag “JusticeForJunior,” Lesandro’s nickname, and a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his burial has raised more than $80,000.
It is unclear who the gang was really trying to target, but the New York Post noted that Lesandro bore a resemblance to another teen seen in a “raunchy sex video” that featured a woman related to one of the attackers.
Police are still investigating Lesandro Guzman-Feliz’s murder and said it may be connected to the stabbing of a 14-year-old boy on Monday in the same area.