Bodega where ‘Junior’ was attacked reopens under new ownership

BRONX — The bodega where Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was attacked and later died nearby has reopened under new ownership.

The new owner, Wagner Baez, told PIX11 on Monday the store opened at the end of the previous week.

Despite protests against the store’s reopening, Baez said customers have been visiting the store and there have been no reports of incidents over the weekend.

The bodega, at East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue, closed after Guzman-Feliz was attacked on June 20.

The 15-year-old was chased down by a group of alleged Trinitarios gang members that night. He sought shelter inside the bodega, but was spotted and dragged out as its then-owner, Modesto Cruz, and others looked on.

Guzman-Feliz, known to family and friends as Junior, ran back inside the store after being beaten, stabbed repeatedly and slashed across the throat with a machete. Surveillance video captured much of the incident, including a person inside the bodega apparently pointing the mortally wounded teenager away from the store.

Cruz later said he tried to help Guzman-Feliz, and the person seen pointing was telling the teen to run to a nearby hospital because 911 had been called and an ambulance was taking too long to respond. Guzman-Feliz died as he attempted to reach the hospital.

The hashtag #JusticeForJunior was shared widely across social media after the teen’s killing, and has included calls to permanently close the bodega.

Doors remained closed until last month when employees were allowed back inside to clean the store and throw out spoiled food. During the cleaning, police officers stood nearby because the employees had expressed fear for their lives, according to Francisco Marte, a member of the Bodega Association.

Since the June attack, 12 alleged gang members have been arrested and charged.

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