First of seven suspects in Bronx teen killing appears in court as support for victim goes global

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CONCOURSE, The Bronx — Seven men are in custody now, accused of involvement in the mistaken identity killing of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz.

On Monday, one of the seven, Kevin Alvarez, 19, went before a judge here and pled not guilty to murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault charges. Six other alleged accomplices were arrested in Paterson, New Jersey over the weekend, and await extradition back to New York.

More arrests are possible, according to law enforcement sources, for the brutal and bloody stabbing murder. Last Wednesday night around 11:40 p.m., a group of young men pulled Guzman-Feliz, 15, out of a bodega on 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue.

Alvarez is accused specifically with dragging Guzman-Feliz "through the threshold" of the corner store, according to prosecutors on Monday evening.

They said that as soon as the group of young men, who are allegedly members of the Trinitarios gang, got him out of the door, they began stabbing and slashing Guzman-Feliz with knives and machetes. It was all captured on surveillance video, as well as on eyewitness cellphone video.

Eyewitnesses and others in the community also helped to bring about the arrests that have happened so far, and they may also cause more arrests to be made. According to the NYPD, so many people called Crime Stoppers with tips about the murder, the department had to add extra operators to the anonymous hotline.

The tips to the police were very specific, the NYPD said, and included names, ages, aliases, addresses and known hideouts of the suspects.

The deluge of helpful information led to the arrests of six additional suspects, who'd been hiding out in an abandoned house in Paterson, New Jersey, according to police.

In custody now, in Paterson, are Danel Fernandez, Joniki Martinez, Jose Muniz, Jose Taverez, Manuel Rivera, and Santiago Rodriguez. The group of men will be in court in North Jersey on Tuesday for an extradition hearing. If it's determined that they can be transferred to New York, they'll be arraigned in the Bronx later this week, possibly on Wednesday, the same day as their alleged victim's funeral.

The suspects had mistaken Junior Guzman-Feliz for another teen who'd been in a sex video with the sister of one of the gang members, according to detectives.

Meanwhile, support for the family of the slain teen has been enormous, and some of it has come from some A-list celebrities. On Monday, former New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, and his wife, television personality La La Anthony, visited Leandra Feliz, the mother of the teen who'd been a lifelong New York Knicks fan, as well as a Police Explorer. The Anthonys gave Ms. Feliz two Carmelo Anthony Knicks jerseys and a pair of basketball shoes.

Pop star Rihanna also made a tribute to the slain teen on her Instagram page, and Bronx native and hip hop star Cardi B donated $8,000 toward the family's $15,000 funeral costs. A GoFundMe page set up to raise the money for the funeral had received more than $214,000 as of early Monday evening.

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