What to Know
- 12 gang members were indicted Wednesday in the shocking death of a 15-year-old boy killed in a caught-on-camera machete attack last month
- Five were charged with first degree murder, which includes torture, for the June 20 death of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, known as "Junior"
- All of the indicted face second degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon charges
A dozen alleged gang members were indicted Wednesday in the shocking death of a 15-year-old boy killed in a caught-on-camera machete attack outside a bodega in the Bronx last month.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced Wednesday that five of the indicted were charged with first degree murder, which includes torture, for the June 20 death of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz and could face life in prison without parole.
However, all 12 alleged gang members were indicted on second degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
The indicted are due back in court Oct. 25.
Clark also revealed Wednesday that the killing was the result of an alleged “inter-gang conflict” between two different sects of the Trinatarios gang.
It is believed that the accused, who are allegedly part of the Trinitarios' “Los Sures” group, allegedly plotted to attack “Sunset,” an upstart sect of the same gang, which resulted in the murder of Guzman-Feliz, also known as "Junior," who they thought was part of the sect, Clark said.
“They allegedly drove to the territory of the Sunset group, came across Junior at a bodega in the Belmont section of the Bronx, where he tried to hide,” Clark said.
Authorities say they do not believe Junior was affiliated with any gang.
Since the attack was "captured on widely circulated videos, it has generated outrage as well as an outpouring of community support,” Clark said, adding that the brutal slaying has resulted in residents to action to assist law enforcement, urging to continue the public to continue working with authorities.
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill also stressed the importance of the public’s help in this case and others.
“The notion that anyone - or any group of people - somehow thinks that committing such an act in New York City is OK, is abhorrent at its core. Criminal groups continue to threaten public safety and quality of life in some New York City neighborhoods,” he said.
“The NYPD will remain vigilant in the face of this threat, but our mission is dependent on a major buy-in from the public we serve. And that's why - through Neighborhood Policing - we're making huge efforts to build trust and to strengthen relationships in every community,” O’Neill further said, adding that “ in every single case, we need all New Yorkers' help - just like we saw with the good people of the Bronx, who helped bring about justice for Junior."
The murder of Guzman-Feliz has captivated the community and public interest, partly because the brutal attack was caught on surveillance video where the teen is seen being dragged outside the bodega and attacked by a gang of five men who stabbed him with knives and hacked him with a machete as he struggled to defend himself.
The boy was slashed in the neck and died after running to a hospital three blocks away.
Guzman-Feliz had been part of the NYPD's Explorers program, a group for youths interested in a law enforcement career. The New York City Police Foundation announced it planned to set up a scholarship in his name.
The investigation is ongoing.