- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) - Hundreds of mourners attended a wake on Monday for a 15-year-old boy whose dream of becoming a police officer ended in a brutal machete attack outside a Bronx bodega.

Seven men are currently in custody in connection with last Wednesday’s killing of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, which was captured on surveillance video and sparked widespread community outrage.

Guzman-Feliz was dragged outside the bodega and set upon by a gang of men who hacked at him as he struggled to defend himself. He was slashed in the neck and died after running to a hospital three blocks away.

At the funeral home, Lesandro’s father, showed a fresh tattoo of his son on the back of his hand.

“My son was my son, but he was my best friend,” Lisandro Guzman told the Daily News. “He comes to me for everything. My heart is broken, really broken.”

Earlier Monday, NBA star Carmelo Anthony visited a memorial of candles and photographs set up outside the deli.

Police said the attack was gang-related, but have provided no motive.

Six suspects were arrested in Paterson, New Jersey, on Sunday and are awaiting an extradition hearing scheduled for Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Another suspect, 19-year-old Kevin Alvarez, of the Bronx, was arrested Sunday in New York on murder, manslaughter and gang assault charges. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday. His attorney said his client and his client’s family “have expressed that their hearts go out to the victim in this case.”

The victim’s mother, Leandra Feliz, has said her son was “innocent.” She described him as “a good boy” who wanted to become a police officer.

Police said the teen belonged to the NYPD’s Explorers program, a group for youths interested in a law enforcement career.

On Sunday, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the victim’s mother.

“What hurts me the most is the notion that this was a young man who wanted to serve our city, be a part of our police force and had such a bright future now is taken from us,” de Blasio said. “It feels very personal to have lost an exemplary young man.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral costs.

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