Following the shocking murder of Bronx teenager Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz outside a bodega, politicians have introduced legislation that will require small businesses to protect young children in their community.
After the murder, lawmakers want to be sure small businesses are a safe haven for minors who may be under attack or seeking help. New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda and Assemblyman Victor Pichardo announced the proposed Safe Havens for Endangered Children legislation, also called “Junior’s Law,” and seek to put the sentiment on the legal books.
Junior, 15, was dragged out of a convenience store and slashed with a machete by a gang around 11:40 pm on 20 June. CCTV footage shows the attack and moment he was left for dead. In security footage, the teen can be seen running into the deli to hide from his attackers. The video shows the suspects enter the bodega and dragging the victim out onto the street. The video then shows a man with what appears to be a large knife.
The second piece of legislation would require small businesses to have first aid kits on hand, in case of emergencies. “We need to ensure that businesses are equipped to help those who are injured to save lives,” Senator Sepulveda said.
If passed, the new legislation would also change the education laws to establish safe walking home zones– local chambers of commerce would construct these pathways to and from schools.
Store owner Modesto Cruz said at the time that he tried to help the teen by letting him hide behind the counter, but the gang threatened him.
The proposed bill has the support of Junior’s father Lissandro Guzman, who said in a statement: “I feel very content and with all my heart I hope the bill that carries my son’s name gets passed so it can prevent situations like this from happening again and so we can create more security for our beloved children.”