NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill sees no wrongdoing in officer response to Bronx teen murder

BRONX, New York City (WABC) -- NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said he does not see any wrongdoing by two officers who responded to the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old in the Bronx last week.

As part of the stabbing investigation, the department became aware that two officers did not provide medical aid to Lesandro Guzman-Feliz when he collapsed outside St. Barnabas Hospital.

In a video circulating on social media, Guzman-Feliz is seen covered in blood and dying outside the medical facility. A woman is trying to stop the bleeding, while others are heard trying to comfort Lesandro while two police officers are seen standing back.

Commissioner O'Neill said the investigative unit is reviewing the video, but added that he is sure the officers did their best during a chaotic situation.

"The whole thing...I've never seen anything like it before," he said. "I'm not looking to turn two cops into scapegoats here. Our focus has to be on the people who committed this murder, not on the two cops that stopped to try to help Lesandro."
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Commissioner James O'Neill said he does not see any wrongdoing by two officers

On Thursday, New York City Council Member Francisco Moya demanded an investigation.

"It's a quick video, but that's why we need to get some answers," he said. "Before we rush into judgment, we should get an investigation, because what you see there is extremely disturbing. I think it's critical for us to see exactly what took place, what happened, what led to them just standing around while a young man is dying right across the street from a hospital."

The NYPD issued the following statement:

"There have been no complaints filed regarding the response to the incident, and there is no (Internal Affairs) investigation. Officers responding to a different call were flagged down by civilians and directed to the victim, and an ambulance arrived just over one minute later."

The attack happened outside a bodega on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in the Tremont section just after 11:30 p.m. last Wednesday, in what authorities believe was a case of mistaken identity that left the entire community outraged.

Guzman-Feliz was dragged outside and slashed and stabbed with a machete after police say the group of gang members mistook him for a rival. The teen, who had hopes of becoming an NYPD detective, tried to run to St. Barnabas Hospital a block away but collapsed on the sidewalk.

There was no lack of urgency in the initial police response.

"Send a bus (ambulance) to 2280 Bathgate Avenue, I need a unit," the police radio transmission said. "Female states a kid was stabbed at this location in the neck..ran to the hospital on foot, ran to St. Barnabas, might be one and the same. Also coming over at 2280 Bathgate Avenue for a kid that was stabbed in the neck. "

The video lasts just 45 seconds.

"It's difficult in these situations to render aid to someone who lost that much blood," former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. "You see the young man, how much blood he lost, so it's difficult to say what they could have done, without any compresses, any kind of materials."

Boyce said police officers are not trained paramedics, and some are not equipped with what would have been needed to treat this severe of an injury. He adds that while the video is inconclusive as to whether they acted appropriately, the purple latex gloves an officer was wearing are a key detail.

"They were getting ready to act," he said. "One officer had gloves on, surgical gloves. I believe she was getting ready to act, and then the tape cuts off."

The attack happened in the district of City Council member Ritchie Torres, who also happens to chair the Committee on Oversight and Investigations.

He said an NYPD or Department of Investigations probe is needed, adding, "Even if there was no misconduct on the part of the individual officers there could be a systemic issue at work here. Do we need to train officers to administer the same services or the same kind of help that an EMT would provide?"

Junior's mother, Leandra Feliz, said she is not rushing to judgment because nothing will bring her son back.

"I'm going to wait for all the investigation," she said. "I can't say nothing."

Her face lit up with pure joy as she showed us the autographed jerseys and sneakers that NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony and his wife LaLa personally delivered to her this week.

She hasn't seen the video yet because the controversy isn't important to her right now.

"He's not going to come back," she said. "I have to learn how to live my new life without him."

Kevin Alvarez, 19, was the first of eight suspects arrested. He appeared in court Friday.

The other seven made their first court appearances Wednesday, as thousands of mourners gathered for Junior's funeral.

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