The grieving mother of the innocent Bronx teenager who was slaughtered in a horrific case of mistaken identity thanked New Yorkers on Thursday for the outpouring of love and support she’s received since the tragedy.
“I feel so thankful for everybody who’s supporting me and everybody who’s helping me,” Leandra Feliz said on “Good Day New York.” “I was not expecting this amount of love and support from everyone.”
The Bronx woman’s 15-year-old son, Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who aspired to become an NYPD detective, was dragged out of a bodega by gangbangers last week and butchered in the street.
In the aftermath of the tragic crime, Feliz hasn’t had “a break to [herself],” she said, with neighbors and community members filling her house daily to keep her company as she mourns.
When she does have a moment by herself, like when she first wakes up or cleans her apartment – everything reminds her of her son.
“Everything is a memory,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”
“In my heart I feel my son with me,” she added. “I don’t let him go. He stay with me.”
On Wednesday, more than 1,000 mourners packed a Belmont church to attend the teen’s funeral — to Feliz’s surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting nothing like that,” she said. “When the tragedy happened, I lost my head. In the moment I said, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do? I’m all alone.”
“Look how everything comes,” she said. “I say that’s God helping me. I want to say thank you very much to everyone who supported me.”
Feliz recounted how her son, who had already been planning his future as an law enforcement officer, went outside the night of June 20 to give a friend the $5 he needed for food, while she went to sleep. She was later woken abruptly by her daughter’s boyfriend, who told her Junior had been stabbed.
“I couldn’t imagine he was stabbed that big,” she said.
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But the boy was slashed repeatedly, including in the neck, with large knives by a pack of Trinitarios gang members who police believe confused him for another teen.
A series of surveillance videos show Junior desperately trying to hide behind the counter at Zesarina Grocery as gang members hunt him down — and then stumbling back into the store for help after being stabbed multiple times.
The heartbroken mother blasted the workers at the bodega for not doing anything.
“Nobody helped him, not even before, not even after,” she said.
Eight men have been arrested and charged with murder in the case.
Feliz, who was never concerned about gang violence in her neighborhood before her son’s murder, wants to see his killers go away for at least 300 years each, she said – so they can’t ever “go out and kill more kids.”
“I want to be strong for him,” Feliz said. “I gotta see what is going to happen with those killers.”