Almost a month after 15-year-old Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz was viciously murdered by several members of a gang in The Bronx, New York City lawmakers proposed legislation to make local stores safe havens for endangered minors.
Appropriately called "Junior's Law," the new policy was introduced by Senator Luis Sepúlveda and Assemblyman Victor Pichardo and made public Tuesday morning (July 17) in front of the deli where Junior was killed.
"While the bodega owner where the incident occurred DID try to help and did call 911 twice, according to police," Sepúlveda said at the conference, "we want to make sure that any business owner or their employees who encounter a situation involving a minor who has been abused or may be in danger has a duty to try to help."
If passed, the legislation would require small businesses to have first aid kits on hand. "We need to ensure that businesses are equipped to help those who are injured to save lives," Sen. Sepulveda said.
Video footage from the June 20th attack shows Junior running into a local bodega and hiding behind the store counter. Several men walk into the store and drag him out, where they stabbed him repeatedly with machetes.
Afterward, Junior can be seen running back into the bodega and the owner, Modesto Cruz pointing towards the door. Junior was then seen running in the direction of St. Barnabas hospital one block away where he died outside of the emergency room.
Cruz maintained he called 911 twice and suggested Junior run to the hospital because it would be faster than waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
Junior's father, still mourning, said he's hopeful the bill bearing his son's name will pass.
"I feel very content and with all my heart I hope the bill that carries my son's name get's passed so it can prevent situations like this from happening again and so we can create more security for our beloved children," Guzman said.
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