NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio invoked the memory of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz Monday at a graduation ceremony for newly sworn-in New York City police officers, which the slain Bronx teen one day hoped to become.
"A sad note, on this good day. A few days ago we lost a young man who aspired to sit here. He was only 15 years old but he was already apart of the NYPD explorers program. He wanted so badly to be a police officer, his particular goal was to become a detective. Lesandro 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz, as we all know here, got his life cut short so brutally by a gang that knew no decency, no morality," de Blasio said.
"We will remember Junior. We will remember his goodness. We will remember what he hoped to achieve and we will tell his story to others to inspire them to take his place. I also want to thank the New York City Police Foundation for creating a scholarship in Junior's name, for the Explorer Summer Academy so other good young people will have the opportunity. And I want to thank all the members of the NYPD who have brought these heinous individuals that attacked Junior to justice."
The 15-year-old was dragged from a Bronx bodega the night of June 20 and set upon by a group of men armed with knives and a machete. He was hacked and slashed as he tried to defend himself. Guzman-Feliz suffered a mortal slash wound to his neck and tried running to a hospital for help, but collapsed on the sidewalk and died outside.
Guzman-Feliz was a member of the NYPD Explorers Program for youth interested in a career in law enforcement. He aspired to one day become a detective in his hometown police force.
Earlier Monday, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill wrote in an op-ed published by the New York Daily News that the death of Guzman-Feliz "is like losing a family member that we didn’t even know we had."