Justice for Junior: 7 suspects due in court in murder of innocent Bronx teen

TREMONT, Bronx -- Seven of the eight suspects arrested in the brutal murder of a 15-year-old boy in the Bronx will make their first court appearances Wednesday, as thousands of mourners gathered to bid a final farewell to the boy affectionately known as Junior.

Six men are being extradited from Paterson, New Jersey, to join the two others who were arrested in the Bronx. They are charged with murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault in the death of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz.

The attack outside a bodega on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in the Tremont section just after 11:30 p.m. last Wednesday, in what authorities believe was a case of mistaken identity that left the entire community outraged.

Guzman-Feliz was dragged outside and slashed and stabbed with a machete after police say the group of gang members mistook him for a rival. The teen, who had hopes of becoming an NYPD detective, tried to run to St. Barnabas Hospital a block away but collapsed on the sidewalk.

Kevin Alvarez, 19, was the first to be arrested Sunday night. Police then raided a house in Paterson known as a hangout for the gang allegedly involved in the murder, taking six suspects into custody.

They were identified as:
--Jose Muniz, 21, of Paterson
--Jose Taverez, 21, of the Bronx
--Manuel Rivera, 18, of the Bronx
--Danel Fernandez, 21, of the Bronx
--Joniki Martinez, 24, of Freeport
--Santiago Rodriguez, 24, of the Bronx

Then on Tuesday, 23-year-old Elvin Garcia was arrested in the Bronx.

"This investigation is not over," NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said. "The brutal nature of this crime, we will leave literally no stone unturned."

Authorities say the men are all members of the Trinitarios gang, which is also believed to be involved in the stabbing of a 14-year-old on the Bronx River Parkway last week.

The NYPD is now cracking down on that gang.

"Pick up a gun, pick up a machete, rob an elderly victim walking home from the train is a one-way ticket to prison," Shea said.

Security cameras outside the bodega captured the gruesome murder, and authorities said they expect more arrests in the coming days and weeks.

"They did him like an animal, and the people who did this, in my opinion, today, should not get justice at all," mourner Kenneth Kelly said. "They should be sentenced to life without parole."

The NYPD said they added extra staff to the CrimeStoppers tip line because they received a "torrent of tips" related to the case. The public is urged to continue to provide information, and anyone with information should call 1800-577-TIPS.
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