NYC: After death threats, gang member suspects in Bronx teen’s murder get special protection, round-the-clock security

The alleged butchers have become the prey.

Three of the suspects in the horrific killing of Bronx teen Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz have been isolated in a 50-unit cell block at Rikers Island as Correction Department officials try to hustle them and their accomplices out of the city for their own safety, law enforcement sources said Tuesday.

“All movement in the jails stop when they move around, and we follow with a camera,” a law enforcement source told the Daily News. “The department is scared to death and is doing everything they can to keep them safe.”

So far, eight suspected Trinitarios gang members have been arraigned in connection with 15-year-old Lesandro’s June 20 slaying, and two more await their first appearance before a judge in the case. All 10 are charged with murder.

The Correction Department has tried to move all of the alleged killers to jurisdictions outside the city to protect them from death threats, but only two were accepted by Suffolk County officials, one source said.

Three of the alleged killers — Jose Muniz, 21, Danel Fernandez, 21, and Antonio Hernandez-Santiago, 24 — are at the George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island. Sources say they’re being held in separate cells in the same 50-unit wing — and the other 47 cells are empty.

Elias Husamudeen, the head of the correction officers union, said that the trio is essentially being housed in “punitive segregation” — even though the city ended the practice of putting inmates 21 years old and under in punitive segregation in 2016.

“It reaffirms the argument we’ve been making for years. The most effective tool we have in protecting both correction officers and inmates from other inmates is punitive segregation,” he said. “Secondly, this is yet another perfect illustration of the mayor’s hypocrisy — condemning the use of punitive segregation and claiming in his words, ‘it’s not the answer,’ while actually utilizing the very same tool when it fits his political needs.”

Lesandro, a member of the NYPD Explorers program who dreamed of becoming a police detective, was dragged out of a Fordham Heights bodega and butchered by members of the Trinitarios, who confused him for another teen, according to authorities and Facebook apologies allegedly sent by the killers.

The killing was captured in shocking detail on security and cell phone video footage.

Two more suspects, Jose Tavarez, 21, and Jonaiki Martinez-Estrella, 24, are being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex, while Manuel Rivera, 18, is held at the Robert N. Davoren Complex on Rikers.



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