Residents protest possible reopening of bodega where teen was slain

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THE BRONX -

Protesters rallied Monday night outside the Belmont bodega that served as a backdrop for the fatal gang stabbing that left a 15-year-old dead just over a month ago.

Following the death of 15-year-old Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz, the shop close down. Now a new owner wants to reopen it, and some neighbors don’t want that to happen.

As News 12 has reported, video shows a group of men drag Junior out of the bodega, then stab, hack and slash him to death.

Surveillance video of the incident circulated widely on the internet and prompted outrage and national calls for an end to gang violence. Police arrested 12 alleged Trinitarios gang members in connection with the slaying.

The bodega's new owner is said to have plans to reopen the shop.

JUSTICE FOR JUNIOR: More information

Some people at the protest told News 12 they felt it wasn't right for the bodega to open again, and that they would rather see the space used for something else.

Other people set up tents across the street from the event — not to protest the possible reopening of the bodega, but to say that violence needs to stop. That group is part of a larger 10-day citywide campaign. Organizers say they will also be fasting.

News 12 spoke with a member of the Bodega Association who said that the new owner is looking forward to becoming part of the community. He also said that the new owner has no relation to the previous shopkeeper.

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