In a closed courtroom yesterday, Kevin Alvarez—one of the first people linked to the brutal murder of 15-year-old Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz last June outside of a Bronx bodega—pleaded guilty, PIX11 reports. Alvarez, part of the group who dragged Guzman-Feliz out of a bodega and onto the sidewalk during the fatal attack, is charged with second-degree murder for his involvement.
A gruesome viral video circulated around social media last summer depicting a group of men stabbing Guzman-Feliz with machetes and knives outside of the Cruz & Chiky bodega in Belmont. The incident is thought to have stemmed from a rivalry within the Trinitarios gang, according to authorities. Two rival groups within the gang, "Sunset" and “Los Sures," were scuffling at the time.
According to prosecutors, members of Los Sures thought Junior was a Sunset affiliate and, upon seeing him, chased him into a bodega. He leapt over the counter but Alvarez and another man pulled him outside, where he was repeatedly stabbed and slashed.
In the video, one of the men is heard mistakenly accusing Guzman-Feliz of having robbed his grandmother. Guzman-Feliz, who was an NYPD Youth Explorer and had aspirations to become a detective when he grew up, was on his way back home when the attack happened.
Following the ambush, Guzman-Feliz made his way to St. Barnabas Hospital up the street, where he fell and died outside the facility. Later, Guzman-Feliz's autopsy revealed that he died of a stab wound to the neck. The city ruled his death a homicide.
Authorities have charged 14 men with manslaughter, gang assault, and conspiracy, in relation to Guzman-Feliz's murder. Five of the defendants, who allegedly held the weapons, are charged with murder in the first degree and will stand trial soon.
Alvarez, who has since been transferred to protective custody from jail, is expected to testify in the upcoming trial. He's said in the past that he thought he was going into a fight, nothing more. "I only saw (the knives) when I came out of the store," he told the New York Daily News. "I backed up and put my arms up. I yelled at them to stop.”