NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Plans were announced Monday to rename a street in honor of a teen killed in the Bronx.
The family of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was joined by local officials on the corner where police say he was killed, East 183rd Street ad Bathgate Avenue, to announce it will be renamed after him.
City Councilman Ritchie Torres said it’s important to commemorate “the life and legacy” of the teen, “whose life was tragically cut short by the most senseless and savage act of gang violence that our city has seen in recent memory.”
“As the local council member, I have directed the staff in the New York Council to begin the process of renaming 183rd and Bathgate in honor of Junior Guzman,” he said. “His name will become a visual signal on the streets of Bathgate. His is a name that will never be forgotten.”
The teen’s mother, Leandra Feliz, was surrounded by loved ones and supporters as the plans were announced to rename the street in her son’s memory, but no tribute will ever ease her pain, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“I lost my son. I’m not gonna have him back any more. I miss him a lot but I want to see the justice for my son,” she said. “Thank you so much for the honor, but I want more. I want justice for my son.”
It was on the night of June 20 that investigators say Guzman-Feliz was targeted by alleged gang members in a case of mistaken identity.
Police say the suspects chased the teen into a bodega, where surveillance video shows the teen trying to hide behind a counter. But the suspects dragged him out of the store, stabbing him repeatedly, according to police.
He died after running for help, collapsing just outside of Saint Barnabas Hospital.
Guzman-Feliz, who was part of the NYPD Explorer’s Program, was an aspiring police officer. In the week’s since his death, his family has been calling for the public’s help to bring his alleged killers to justice.
His mother says the teen knew none of the 12 alleged gang members charged in his death.
“No he didn’t know. Not even me,” she said. “Those people not even from this neighborhood.”
Since his death, the bodega where Guzman-Feliz was attacked has remained closed. People who live in the area say there has been an around-the-clock police presence with officers on patrol.
“I think the neighborhood will feel a little safer,” said resident Ada Laureano. “Their presence quite welcomed by the neighborhood.”
But in a neighborhood that has long been plagued by violence, Leandra Feliz says there still an enormous amount of work to be done.
“We have to continue to work more to make a difference,” she said.
All of the suspects in the case have pleaded not guilty.
Torres said he expects the official street renaming ceremony to take place early next year.