NYPD awards scholarships in honor of slain Bronx teen Lesandro 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- The NYPD on Wednesday awarded the first of its scholarships named in honor of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz.

Police said gang members killed the 15-year-old outside a Bronx bodega in June after mistaking him for a rival.

Junior was a member of the NYPD Explorers program, and two scholarships were made public at a graduation ceremony in Lower Manhattan that provide $5,000 each to two Explorer members headed to college this fall.

The recipients of the scholarship were Malachi Nelson and Nahomi Zambrano.

"Some of my friends, they've been through a lot, and I want to change that," Zambrano said. "That is something I always wanted to do, especially gang violence. That is something Junior went through, and I feel so sad about that."

Junior's parents were in attendance for the graduation, which celebrated the work of 250 young men and women.

"Junior, as his mother, I know him," mom Leandra Feliz said. "He would be so happy in here now, be so proud. Happy, 100 percent sure."

The Explorers program gives young New Yorkers an introduction to careers in law enforcement and criminal justice.

After reading the essays submitted as part of the scholarship application, the NYPD awarded four additional students with $1,000 scholarships.

NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker and New York City Police Foundation President and CEO Susan Birnbaum presented the inaugural scholarships, which were selected based on the recipients' applications, personal essays, letters of recommendation, and successful completion of the Law Enforcement Exploring Academy.

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