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Bronx Street Named in Honor of Lesandro "Junior"...

Mural of "Junior" Guzman Feliz

A mural of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman Feliz in front of the bodega on Bathgate Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. A ceremony with his parents and city officials on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 co-named the street in his honor.

(Photo by Mia Tommins for WFUV News)

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The street where Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was killed last summer in an act of gang violence will now be co-named for him. Friends, family and neighbors gathered Wednesday, to honor Junior’s legacy with a new sign reading “Lesandro Junior Guzman-Feliz Way.” After Guzman-Feliz was killed, the hashtag #justiceforjunior went viral and video of his brutal murder circulated online.

According to prosecutors, he was killed by members of the Trinitario gang in a case of mistaken identity in June 2018. The co-naming ceremony, which opened with a prayer in both English and Spanish, was held on the corner in front the bodega where Guzman-Feliz was killed due to mistaken identity. Junior’s classmates held flowers and a sign commemorating their friend. They stood behind the speakers and in front of a mural with the words “love is the answer.”

The ceremony also drew a huge police presence as well as members of the police explorers program, which Guzman-Feliz was a part before he died. Bronx City Council Member Ritchie Torres spoke to the assembled community members about gang violence prevention programs. “Junior’s impact will last as his spirit lives on,” Torres said. “We should remember Junior not only for the tragic loss of his life in an unspeakable act of violence. We should remember him for the lives he has saved and the lives he will save because of the legacy he leaves behind.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also addressed the community members. He started in Spanish before continuing in English. “Whenever we do these co-naming ceremonies it’s usually for someone who lived a long, fruitful life,” he said. “Someone who did extraordinary things that we want to commemorate. “The fact is, I wish that we did not have to be here this morning. I don’t want to be here. I wish that we didn’t have to do this. Junior’s light was dimmed way too soon.” Diaz Jr. also talked about working with schools, clubs and violence interrupters to prevent a similar event to Guzman-Feliz’s death from ever happening again.

“While we have mourned and we continue to mourn and support the family now let us all make sure that he did not die in vain. That his name will live on forever,” Diaz said. Junior’s parents were given copies of the new street signs to take home.

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As part of WFUV’s Gang Impact series, in collaboration with Bronxnet and Norwood news, WFUV reporters covered the NYPD’s gang database and a PI’s quest to take down the Trinitario gang.

WFUV's Mia Tommins also contributed to this story.