Belmont bodega reopens despite neighborhood resistance

Updated:
The Belmont bodega that served as the backdrop of Lesandro "Junior" Feliz-Guzman's slaying earlier this summer has reopened under new ownership despite a lot of pushback from neighbors. The Belmont bodega that served as the backdrop of Lesandro "Junior" Feliz-Guzman's slaying earlier this summer has reopened under new ownership despite a lot of pushback from neighbors.
BELMONT -

The Belmont bodega that served as the backdrop of Lesandro "Junior" Feliz-Guzman's slaying earlier this summer has reopened under new ownership despite a lot of pushback from neighbors.

It's at the corner of Bathgate Avenue and East 183rd Street. It had been closed since June 20 after security cameras recorded a group of alleged gang members hacking, slashing and stabbing the 15-year-old Junior.

MORE: Community outraged after bodega reopens under new management  | #JusticeForJunior

Wagner Baez, the new owner and a father of three, says he asked Junior's mother if she would mind if he named the store in her son's honor, and she declined. For now, he says he's calling it Waggy's II.

Baez, who owns two other bodegas, says he has no relation to the previous owners at Bathgate and East 183rd. 

Those owners received waves of criticism for their response to the attack. At one point, the group of men dragged Junior out of the bodega. Video shows him clawing at the wall, trying to escape. That's just moments before the group threw him to the sidewalk and delivered a flurry of knife blows.

Junior's friends say they would prefer the space be repurposed for something like a community center or a church.

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