NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police have confirmed there is a connection between the murder of 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz and the stabbing of a 14-year-old boy in the middle of the Bronx River Parkway, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Friday.
The update came as one of the eight men accused in Guzman-Feliz’s death appeared in court and was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and gang assault. Investigators allege Kevin Alvarez was one of the Trinitarios gang members who attacked the teen on June 20.
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Surveillance video shows Guzman-Feliz being dragged from a bodega in the Belmont section of the Bronx. Investigators believe he was targeted in a case of mistaken identity.
Late Friday, the bodega owner spoke out amid backlash, claiming he did all he could to help. He said he called 911 twice and has released new surveillance video showing him let Guzman-Feliz jump over the counter for cover.
“If I had done more, I would have been exposed and there would have been a memorial candle for me and my partner,” he said in Spanish.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill spoke about both investigations earlier in the day.
“There have been number of incidents throughout the city involving Trinitarios,” he said. “I’m not prepared to say yet how, but I can say they are connected.”
“I anticipate that as we dig deeper and deeper and peel back the onion, we’re going to find more and more links,” added NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.
In the Bronx River Parkway attack, the victim was stabbed multiple times in the chest and body but survived.
O’Neill said the department is also looking into other crimes allegedly committed by the Trinitarios gang. They also haven’t ruled out more arrests in the Guzman-Feliz case.
This week, the New York City Police Foundation announced a scholarship to honor Guzman-Feliz by providing two NYPD Explorer high school graduates with up to $5,000 each in tuition reimbursement.