A gang has apologized for the murder of 15-year-old Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz, telling members of his family they mistook him for someone else.
“They said, ‘We had the wrong person,'” Derek Grullon, Lesandro’s brother-in-law, told the New York Daily News on Saturday. Grullon’s wife, who is Lesandro’s sister, said she received similar messages.
Lesandro was murdered on Wednesday by several men wielding machetes after getting into an argument with them outside of Cruz and Chiky Grocery on E. 183rd St. and Bathgate Ave. According to the Daily News, Lesandro was stabbed in both sides of his neck after being dragged outside and attacked. He was then taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he later died.
“A little kid, alone with no weapon. Five men with machetes came for one little kid,” Lesandro’s mother told the Daily News. Cathy Jimenez, a family friend, stated Thursday. “He was just a 15-year-old boy who hadn’t started living. These were grown gang members.”
According to a senior police official, police are investigating “several promising leads” after releasing photos of the suspects and the vehicles they were seen entering. The suspects were possibly members of Trinitarios, a Dominican gang, according to Facebook messages received by the family.
The public has since rallied together in a call for justice. A GoFundMe page titled “Justice for Junior” had raised $50,000 for his family by Saturday afternoon.
On Twitter, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia stated that he feels hurt by Lesandro’s death. “I’m a father of four and couldn’t imagine losing any one of my own kids,” he wrote. “The violence and hate needs to stop. There’s too much other stuff already going on in this world.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea and Chief of Department Terence Monahan made a promise to catch the suspects on Friday.
“The stabbing murder of this young man is among the most brutal crimes I’ve seen in my 36yr career,” Monahan said. “NYPD Detectives are working hard to capture these killers.”