MONTVALE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A community in New Jersey is reeling after a 17-year-old student was stabbed and killed Thanksgiving morning outside a club in Manhattan.
Rocco Rodden, 17, was a football player at St. Joseph's Regional High School in Montvale. He was a rising star with infinite possibilities, but all those hopes and dreams came to a tragic end when the teenager was stabbed to death during a confrontation with another teen.
"It is heart-wrenching for parents to bury children, it's completely unacceptable," Rodden's father Douglas Rodden said.
The incident took place in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving, and has stunned Rocco's close-knit family.
"The family is broken, inside and out," Douglas Rodden said.
Rocco Rodden was out with his brother and sister at a club near the corner of Lafayette and White streets in Lower Manhattan where witnesses say there were multiple fights involving teens.
Rodden was stabbed in the torso while his brother was stabbed and now has 50 stitches. Rocco died a few hours later, but his death has touched off a wave of sadness and sorrow.
"He was a true warrior and he died defending one of his friends," Douglas Rodden said.
Police arrested a 19-year-old suspect identified as Gianluca Bordone of Oyster Bay, New York. He now faces murder charges.
"He was one of a kind, he was the eye of the tiger, the light in the darkest room and the life of the party," Douglas Rodden said.
Rocco Rodden was a junior and played on the offensive line for the high school football team. The school's principal sent a note to families.
"We extend our deepest condolences to Rocco's family, friends, and all who knew him. May we find comfort in each other as we remember and celebrate the life of a beloved member of our St. Joseph Regional High School community," the statement said.