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City Councilman unveils new initiative to protect Bronx store owners

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WAKEFIELD -

City Councilman Andy King has proposed a new initiative that focuses on having the NYPD train business owners how to respond during a violent incident.

The Safe Haven Zone initiative comes after the slaying of 15-year-old Lesandro 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz outside a bodega in the Belmont section of the Bronx last month. Residents say the bodega owner didn't know how to protect Guzman-Feliz.

"Small businesses do and can provide children a place to hide in an event that there is an event that they find themselves feeling unsafe or their lives are in jeopardy," King says.

Seyhan Benjamin, the owner of the Uptown Caribbean Taste in Wakefield, says he is all for the initiative.

"You know, hopefully it doesn't happen here, but if it does then we can know how to react to it," Benjamin says.

Officials say they don't want business owners trying to act like police, but they say the owners do have an obligation to the community to keep people in their stores safe.

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