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Gov. Cuomo announces $19 million for programs aimed at keeping kids from joining street gangs

The New York Daily News - 7/12/2018

July 12--New York State will invest $19 million in anti-gang programs to prevent other youths from suffering the same fate as slain Bronx teen Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz, Gov. Cuomo announced Thursday.

"What happened to Junior, 15 years old, is frightening -- it's frightening," Cuomo said during an appearance at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Columbus Clubhouse on Bathgate Ave. in the Bronx.

"A 15-year-old who did everything right, whose mother did everything right," Cuomo continued. "Model student, model member of the community. Did everything right, and then a random act of unspeakable violence. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anybody and that is frightening in this world."

Cuomo said the state funding would include $8 million to expand youth programming -- including the youth baseball and softball academy run by the state and Major League Baseball -- at Roberto Clemente State Park, $1 million to improve area community centers and $500,000 for after-school and evening programs.

The governor said the state-funded programs would help to fill a void in the community that gangs exploit when they recruit youths into their organizations.

"We are having too many young people lost too young," Cuomo said. "These gangs are corrupting too many young people earlier and earlier, and once they fall into the web of the gangs, they're lost -- they're lost."

Guzman-Feliz was murdered outside a Bronx bodega on June 20 in what police have said was a case of mistaken identity by members of the Trinitarios street gang. A dozen members have been arrested in connection with the brutal slaying.

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(c)2018 New York Daily News

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