After the senseless death of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz rocked the Bronx community, legislators introduced a “safe-haven” bill that would require bodegas to serve as safe places to help people avoid a ruthless and brutal attack like the one that took Guzman-Feliz’s life.
After several attempts to seek help, Guzman-Feliz was put out by the owner of a bodega and was viciously attacked with a machete outside of it by several Trinintarios gang members on June 20. Sadly video footage showed the teen running into the store, trying desperately to get help before he was ultimately dragged out and killed.
He tried to run to a local hospital a few blocks away, but died after losing a large amount of blood.
“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.”
In addition, a separate piece of legislation will require small businesses to have first-aid kits available.
“We need to ensure that businesses are equipped to help those who are injured to save lives,” Senator Sepulveda said.
Lissandro Guzman, the father of the slain teen supports the initiative and said in a statement:
“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.
The senseless death of Guzman-Feliz, also touched police officers who will honor the teen with a scholarship in his name.
Guzman-Feliz was only 15 and had aspirations to one day become a police detective, reports the NY Post. He even took part in the NYPD Explorers program. Although he will never realize his dream, the NYPD will invest in young people like Junior and offer two high school graduates $5,000 each in tuition reimbursement and school supplies once enrolled in an accredited school for the fall semester in his name.
“This scholarship will help more young New Yorkers learn about law enforcement and public service, and ensure that Junior’s legacy will never be forgotten,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The New York City Police Foundation will fund the scholarships.
“There is no better way to honor a young man whose stated dream was to become one of the greatest detectives in the world than by establishing a memorial scholarship in his honor,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
“The work Explorers do makes our communities stronger, it makes our neighborhoods safer, and it makes our police department better. The people we serve, in every corner of New York City, will surely be the largest beneficiaries in all of this,” he added.