THE BRONX (PIX11)- The Trinitarios, a notorious Dominican gang in the Bronx responsible for the death of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, thought of themselves as “warriors” and their “warrior tools” were machetes and knives, according to a witness who tried to join the ring.
“They referred to themselves as warriors,” Kevin Alvarez said Tuesday during testimony in the “Justice for Junior” trial. “It shows you’re more gangster, more tough.”
Alvarez, 23, is one of the state’s key witnesses in the murder case against alleged gang leaders Diego Suero and Frederick Then. Suero is accused of giving the order to kill 15-year-old Guzman-Feliz four years ago. Then is the alleged No. 2 leader in the Los Sures set of the Trinitarios.
Five members of the gang have already been convicted of the attack.
On June 20, 2018, Junior was slain by a group of Trinitarios at the corner of 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in Tremont. The teen had tried to seek shelter at a nearby bodega when he was dragged out and stabbed with a knife and machete, authorities said.
The act of stabbing, Alvarez explained, was significant for the gang because knives or machetes were their “warrior tools.” As a probationary member of the Trinitarios, Alvarez was ordered to attack someone to avenge an incident where his little brother was jumped, he said.
“(I) had to stab someone in the butt to get on probation,” Alvarez testified.
He joined the gang at the urging of his buddy, “Scooby,” to feel a sense of belonging.
“Thought I was going to be cool,” he added.
Alvarez testified Suero, who was nicknamed “Psycho,” was in charge of all the Trinitarios in the Bronx, including the Sunset sect. Los Sures and Sunset were at odds when leadership from both sides met up to ease tensions. After the meeting, Suero warned his crew to remain cautious.
The temporary truce ended when someone got shot in the eye, Alvarez said. The incident provoked Suero to issue a “357” against Sunset members, which meant to find and kill them, the witness said.
“Kill on sight. We’re at war,” Alvarez said about Suero’s orders.
On the day of Junior’s death, Alvarez said the gang met at Suero’s house and he told his “soldiers” that they had to avenge the shooting. Several members, including Then, piled into four cars and went cruising for rival gang members when they spotted Junior walking down the street near a park.
Then was part of the crew in Alvarez’s car who started shouting at the teen before jumping out and threatening him, the witness said.
“Junior started running and they started chasing him,” Alvarez said. “Colita (Then) told me to follow him (in the car).”
They chased Junior near St. Barnabas Hospital and eventually to the bodega so they could “kill him,” Alvarez told the court.
Alvarez and accomplice Michael Reyes were the first two in the bodega before Alvarez dragged Junior out of the store and the crew began beating the boy. The prosecution claims Then was outside the deli when Junior was attacked and called Suero to tell him the job was done.
Alvarez said he made a deal with the district attorney’s office to be a cooperating witness because he regretted being a part of the incident, which drew an apparent chuckle from the defense table. His testimony will resume Wednesday.