People are sending love and financial support to the family of a Bronx teen who was allegedly killed by gang members in what police are calling a case of “mistaken identity.”
This week, Cardi B and other stars made donations to cover funeral and burial costs for Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who was allegedly stabbed with machetes because gang members believed he made a sex tape with one of the assailants’ relatives.
But as it turns out, Junior was not the suspect in the video and was targeted incorrectly — a fatal mistake affiliates of the Trinitarios gang apologized to his family for in a message on social media.
A relative of Junior who wished to remain anonymous told CBS New York:
“They’re just saying it wasn’t for Junior, it was somebody else, but they confused them and they said sorry and they apologize and they send their condolencesâ€¦ But he’s gone. That doesn’t change anything.”
The video that led to the attack reportedly shows a young man mistaken for Junior performing a rap while a girl was engaged in sex in the background.
On Tuesday, authorities announced an eighth arrest in connection with the murder, which took place on June 20 and was caught on store surveillance video. The footage shows Junior being grabbed from a Bronx bodega by eight men on June 20 before he was slashed in the neck. Though he was able to run several blocks to a hospital, he later died from his injuries.
Six of the suspects are waiting to face formal charges in New York. The seventh man arrested, 19-year-old Kevin Alvarez, has been charged with second-degree murder and gang assault. The eighth man arrested, 23-year-old Elvin Garcia, faces murder, manslaughter, and other charges.
Sources have said both Junior and the girl in the video were participants in the New York Police Department’s Explorers program, which guides youths who have shown interest in law enforcement careers.
Many are reeling over the slaying of this innocent teenager. Cardi B said the story “made me teared” and directed her fans to the GoFundMe page asking for $15,000 to cover funeral and burial costs for Junior. An $8,000 contribution made under Belcalis Almanzar, the Bodak Yellow rapper’s real name, topped the donations.
Rihanna also shared condolences to Junior’s family on Instagram Monday, writing that she “can’t stop thinking about this poor baby boy, and how his family must feel right now! I’m sincerely praying for your healing and #justiceforjunior.”
Carmelo and La La Anthony took their support to the streets, visiting the site where Junior was attacked on Monday and then gifting his family autographed jerseys, sneakers, and a portrait. The couple also made an undisclosed donation.
So so tragic. Our hearts are with Junior’s family.