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#JusticeForJunior: 6 Facts On The Murder Of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz

Here's information gathered from the web on Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz and the suspects responsible for his death.

In a mind-numbing case of mistaken identity, a young boy's life was cut short in the hands of senseless violence. On a late Wednesday evening (June 20), Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was murdered by a group of men who claimed he was part of a video where an unidentified person was recorded having sex with one of the suspects' sister.

On surveillance footage caught outside of a deli in the Bronx's Belmont area, Guzman-Feliz, known as Junior, was dragged out of the store and slashed with a machete and other weaponry. Onlookers stood by as the suspects attacked and fled the scene. The 15-year-old walked himself to the nearby St. Barnabas Hospital where he collapsed and died.

Since his passing, memorials have taken form. Donations to a GoFundMe page to assist with funeral costs and other expenses has exceeded its initial $15,000 goal. Celebrities have also stepped in alongside community members to fight for justice for the slain teen who's been described as a "good kid."

With this tragic incident making national headlines, here's some information gathered from around the web on Guzman-Feliz and the suspects responsible for his death.

Read More: Family Receives Anonymous Apology In Brutal Slaying Of 15-Year-Old Bronx Teen

1. Junior's Career Goal Was To Become A Police Officer With The NYPD

According to the teen's mother, Leandra Feliz, her son began his dream of becoming a police officer by joining the NYPD's Explorers Program. The outlet mentors the city's youth, ages 14-20, and gives future NYPD members first-hand experience on what it's like to be part of the law enforcement conglomerate.

"He was one of the good kids in the Bronx," his mother said. "He has never been in any fight, never, in 15 years. He was innocent. He never grew up on the streets. He was with me all the time." Leandra Feliz added that Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to reach out to the family.

2. Guzman-Feliz's Family Called For A Boycott Of The Deli Where He Was Murdered

Cruz and Chiky Grocery in the Bronx's Belmont area was the site of Guzman-Feliz's murder. Surveillance footage shows a few of the suspects followed the teen into the store (located on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue), and then dragged him out while employees stood by.

Guzman-Feliz's sister-in-law, Lone Feliz, said she could not understand why the store's "owners or employees or whoever is there" neglected to get the teen proper medical attention when he re-entered the store with multiple wounds. ABC 7 New York reports the family has now called for a boycott of the corner store. "They treated my son like he was a delinquent like they didn't know him," the teen's mother said. "Before the killer gets inside the store, my son was already hiding inside the store, and they killed him maybe already 30 seconds later."

3. NYPD Officials Received A "Torrent Of Tips" After The Story Gained Traction

As local law enforcement officials opened an investigation into identifying and arresting the five suspects (who're in custody now), Chief Dermot F. Shea shared that the department received a wave of beneficial tips from those offering help, The New York Times reports. Chief Shea believes people became "disgusted by what they saw" and decided to bring justice to Junior and his family.

On Monday morning (June 25), authorities located and arrested Kevin Alvarez, 19, who was charged with murder, manslaughter and other felonies. Alongside his detainment, the NYPD arrested six other men in connection to the killing: Manuel Rivera (18), Santiago Rodriguez (24), Danel Fernandez (21), Jose Taverez (21), Joniki Martinez (24), and Jose Munia (21).

Over the weekend (June 23-24), candles and flowers began to take residence on Bathgate Avenue. The store where the teen was killed also has memorabilia lined up outside. ABC 7 notes a funeral service will be held on Tuesday (June 26) at the R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home from 3-9 p.m. EST in the Bronx.

4. Reports Claim The Suspects Are Part Of The Trinitarios Gang

Since 1992, the Trinitarios solidified its deep roots in the Bronx, the New York Post reveals. Authorities believe the suspects were part of the gang and their weapon of choice is primarily a machete, which was used to injure and thus kill Guzman-Feliz. Trinitarios reportedly formed on Rikers Island and is known as the United States' "largest Dominican gang."

Members of the teen's family allegedly received text messages from a high-ranking gang member who apologized for the mistaken identity crime. "It wasn't supposed to be him," the text reads, per the Post. The news site also reports the Trinitarios may be connected to a non-fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old in the Bronx on Monday (June 18).

5. The Teen Girl In The Controversial Video Is In Police Protection

Recently (June 25), The New York Post published a story that states the teen girl seen in the controversial video is in police protection. She's received threats on various social media accounts since Guzman-Feliz's death, some pegging her as the cause of this incident. The 15-year-old was also a part of the NYPD Explorers program.

6. Celebrities Have Voiced Their Condolences And Given Their Support

Once the news hit the Internet, celebrities also joined the cause under the hashtag #JusticeForJunior. Power star LaLa and NBA player Carmelo Anthony visited Guzman-Feliz's family and offered financial support, sneakers, jerseys and a painted self-portrait of the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School student - he was a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder player.

"I can't imagine this type of pain and sadness," LaLa wrote on Instagram. "His family is strong and may God bless them forever. Seeing his family smile when we walked through that door is something I will never forget." Cardi B, a fellow Bronx native, also donated $8,000 to the slain teen's GoFundMe page.

This is what I wanted to do for my birthday today. Thank you to the gram for connecting me to this family. I wanted to offer our love and support to Lesandro “Junior’s” family. His sister @__octobersveryown__ reached out and told me he loved Melo. So I asked Mel to go with me. I can’t imagine this type of pain and sadness. His family is strong and may God bless them forever. Seeing his family smile when we walked through that door is something I will never forget. Putting my arms around his mom is something I will never forget. Being in his room is something I will never forget. Pls go to his sister in laws page @c0co__amor to donate to this family. (& before it starts...we did more than bring jerseys and sneakers) just do what YOU can even if it’s $1.. this family will be in my heart forever #justiceforjunior #justiceforjunior

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on

Read More: Cardi B Donates $8,000 To Slain Bronx Teen Junior Guzman-Feliz’s Family

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Breonna Taylor’s Family Vows To Continue Fight For Justice: “Please Keep Saying Her Name”

Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).

“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.

“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”

Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.

A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth. pic.twitter.com/if5MH5UcCW

— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.

“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.

A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.

Listen to the emotional 911 call below.

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KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

Fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Arrested For Murder Of George Floyd

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George Floyd on Friday (May 29), Hennepin County D.A. Mike Freeman confirmed at a press conference.

“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder,” said Freeman.

“There could be more charges later. The investigation is ongoing. We felt it important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said when asked if the three additional fired MPD officers will be charged in Floyd’s murder. The third-degree murder charge suggests that Chauvin had no intent to kill Floyd. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Chauvin's arrest follows three days of protests in an around Minneapolis. On Thursday (May 28), the MPD’s third precinct went up in flames.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct has been set on fire pic.twitter.com/h85rjffLgc

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 29, 2020

“We have never charged a case in that time frame. We can only prove a case when we have substantial evidence,” added Freeman who maintained that the timing of the arrest was a result of a final piece of evidence, although he refused to go into detail. “We have now been able to put together the evidence that we needed. Folks, I’m not gonna’ talk specifically about this piece of evidence, or that piece of evidence. You will see.”

Freeman did however state the that evidence collected in the case includes citizen video, officer body cam footage, witness statements, and a “preliminary report” from the medical examiner.

Chauvin was the officer filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and pleaded, “Please! Please! I can’t breathe!”

The fatal incident unfolded on Monday (May 25) afternoon. Police were called to Cup Food grocery store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fraudulent $20 bill. MPD claimed that Floyd resisted arrest but a security camera recording shows him walking calmly in handcuffs while being escorted to a patrol car by an MPD officer.

Video footage release by store owner who stated George did not resist arrest as stated on the police report #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatters pic.twitter.com/aqFzkPmnEp

— Que ™ (@RealQDaKidd) May 27, 2020

Additional footage, recorded by a teenage bystander, captured Floyd's last few minutes alive. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Chauvin may have already known Floyd as they both worked security for the Minneapolis club, El Nueva Rodeo.

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KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

George Floyd’s Family Wants Minneapolis Police Officers Arrested For His Murder

The family of George Floyd are demanding justice after the 46 year old was killed by Minneapolis police earlier in the week. Floyd’s cousin and brothers want the four officers involved to be arrested and convicted of murder.

“We need to see justice happen,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CBS This Morning. “This was clearly murder. We want to see them arrested. We want to see them charged, we want to see them convicted. He did not deserve what happened to him.”

In reactions to the Floyd's murder, tens of thousands of people took to the street in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities around the country.

“I don’t want the protests to just be for show. I want to see action,” continued Brown. “I want to see these people pay for what they did. We need to hold them accountable.”

Floyd was described as an “amazing” person who was well loved and “never did anything” to anyone. “Everybody loved my brother. I just don’t understand why people want to hurt people, killed people, they didn’t have to do that to my brother,” said his brother, Philonise Floyd.

Two of the four officers involved have been identified as Tou Thao, and Derek Chauvin, the latter of whom is the officer who put his knee in Floyd’s neck as he begged for air and later died. All four officers have been fired.

Former NBA player Steven Jackson took to social media to pay tribute to his longtime friend whom he called his twin. “Floyd was my brother, we called each other twin,” Jackson said in an emotional video. “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and ya’ll go and kill my brother.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Where we from not many make it out but my Twin was happy I did. I’m gonna continue to make u proud fam. It makes me so angry that after all the things u been through when u get to your best self that they take u out like this. Fuk Rest Easy Twin

A post shared by Stephen Jackson Sr. (@_stak5_) on May 26, 2020 at 7:04pm PDT

Minnesota is no stranger to police brutality. The Star-Tribune published a list of the 193 people who have died “after a physical confrontation with Minnesota police” since the year 2000 (excluding car accidents during police pursuits). The database includes Philando Castile, the 32-year-old cafeteria worker killed by a Minneapolis cop during a traffic stop in 2016. Castile’s murder was the first, and possibly only time, that a Minnesota police officer was criminally charged for killing a civilian, although the former officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted.

Watch the interview with Floyd's family below.

 

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