Bronx, NY – A violent Dominican street gang has apologized to the family of a 15-year-old New York Police Department (NYPD) Explorers program member, after they dragged the teen out of a store and hacked him to death on a New York street corner on Wednesday night (video below).
“I know it doesn’t mean a lot. It wasn’t supposed to be him,” a Trinitarios “top leader” wrote in a message to the slain teen’s family, according to the New York Post.
Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz dreamed of becoming a police detective, his mother, Leandra Feliz, told the New York Post on Saturday.
“Since he was 5 years old, he told me, ‘Mommy, I want to be a police,’” Feliz, a native of the Dominican Republic, recalled. “He was just waiting to graduate and study criminal justice. And be a police.”
The teen even joined NYPD’s Law Enforcement Explorer program, which was established to teach and mentor youth between the ages of 14 and 20 who are interested in becoming law enforcement officers.
But on Wednesday night, the eleventh grader’s promising future came to a brutal and abrupt end.
“They opened a hole in his neck with a machete,” the teen’s grieving mother told the New York Post through tears. “They killed my son like he was junk.”
The violent attack occurred at approximately 11:40 p.m. on June 20, after Guzman-Feliz told his mother that he was heading downstairs to give a friend $5 that he owed him, WABC reported.
While he was outside, the attackers began chasing Guzman-Feliz. The teen took off running into a bodega on East 183rd Street, the New York Post reported.
“He tried to run into the store because he thought he’d be safe,” the victim’s sister, 17-year-old Genesis Collado-Feliz, told the paper. “They dragged him from the store like a dog. They were grown men and he was only 15.”
Surveillance footage from outside the store showed the teen being dragged from the store by his hood.
The five attackers then held him down, while one hacked at him with what appeared to be a machete, the video showed.
Another stabbed him repeatedly with a smaller blade.
The video showed the men then fled the scene in multiple directions, and left the teen stumbling and bleeding to death on the street corner.
Guzman-Feliz ran towards St. Barnabas Hospital, and collapsed just outside, the New York Post reported.
Video footage showed the blood-soaked teen as he sat on the ground.
He begged for water as he died, investigators said, according to WABC.
His mother, who works as a housekeeper in the hospital’s intensive care unit, desperately rushed to be with her injured son, the New York Post reported.
“He is alive?” she screamed as she ran into the hospital.
But her son had already succumbed to his injuries.
“I hugged and kissed my son,” Feliz recounted. “They stabbed my son in the neck. In the main artery going to the heart.”
His mother was understandably devastated by the loss.
“I have no reason to live my life,” the grieving mother sobbed. “They kill him. They kill me, too. I’m ready to die. You can put me with my son.”
Guzman-Feliz’ murder may have been a case of mistaken identity, two high-ranking NYPD sources told the New York Post.
Investigators believe that members of the Trinitarios may have attacked the teen as retaliation for a raunchy porn video, which showed a naked woman who was possibly related to one of the gang members.
In the video, which was posted on social media, one male rapped as another – who bore a striking resemblance to Guzman-Feliz – had sex with a girl whose face was covered with a shirt, the New York Daily News reported.
According to Guzman-Feliz’s family, several members of the Trinitarios sent messages to the teen’s family via social media after the horrific murder and apologized for the accidental killing.
“They said, ‘We had the wrong person,’” Guzman-Feliz’s brother-in-law, Derek Grullon, told the paper.
Grullon said that a “top leader” of the gang apologized for what had transpired, the New York Post reported.
“He said they kicked all of them out of the gang,” Grullon recounted.
On Friday, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea vowed to bring the men who murdered the aspiring law enforcement officer to justice.
“He was never going to give up on his dream of being an NYPD detective & WE’LL NEVER GIVE UP ON HIM,” Chief Shea tweeted in a post that included photos of the victim and his attackers.
“Someone out there knows these men, all wanted for the brutal murder of 15-yr-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Ortiz in # thebronx,” Chief Shea said in a follow-up post on Saturday morning. “Take a good look at each. It’s up to you to help us get # JUSTICEFORJUNIOR.”
Chief of Department Terence Monahan said that Guzman-Feliz’s murder was “among the most brutal crimes” he had encountered during his 36 years as an officer, the New York Post reported.
Investigators continued to sort through “tons of information/misinformation” about the horrific murder on Saturday, and had not yet made any arrests, the New York Post reported.
You can watch surveillance footage of the horrific machete attack in the video below (WARNING – Extremely Graphic):