Bodega Store Owner: ‘I Remember His Face’
The owner of the Bronx bodega where Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz fled to for help speaks out and remembers the boys terrified face.
Last week, shocking video was released of 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz being forcefully dragged out of Cruz and Chiky Grocery store in the Bronx, then fatally stabbed and murdered in a case of mistaken identity. Eight suspected members of the Trinitarios, a Dominican street gang, have been arrested and charged in the murder. Finally the owner, Modesto Cruz, who has faced public scrutiny for not doing more to help the teen has spoken out about that night.
‘I was closing the store. I already passed the key to close the store when somebody go and jump all over the counter… ‘I was trying to hold him. I don’t know what is going on when he told me they looking for him.’
Cruz pleaded, ‘I just want the mother [of Guzman-Feliz] to understand…the pain is not only on her. We feel the pain too,’ said Cruz, who noted that he knew the teen “from when he was little.”
New surveillance video shows Cruz at first in shock— stop Guzman-Feliz then attempt to hide the victim behind the store counter. ‘They saw him when he stood up.’
Breaking down in tears at times, Cruz told reporters his account of the senseless slaying outside his store saying he did all he could do. He even recalls calling 911 and stated the operator asked a series of questions as he begged for them to send the police.
Cruz’ lawyer Francisco Serrano claims that his client also made a second 911 call.
‘He reacted with the knowledge that he had at that moment,’ Serrano said. ‘He’s not a police officer. He’s not trained to defend himself. How many grocery store owners are killed in the city of New York?’
Serrano said they told the store owner “don’t get involved.”
Cruz continued, ‘At that moment we continued to assess the situation…There was too many young kids…we’re only two people. We don’t got nothing – no weapon. What they gonna do to us at that moment? They will kill us…I feel scared at the moment. There was a lot of people.’
Do you think he could have done more to save Lesandro Guzman-Feliz’ life?