MONTVALE — Students at one of New Jersey's largest Catholic high schools return to class Monday mourning the death of a classmate.

Rocco Rodden, a 17-year-old junior football player for Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, was stabbed outside Live Axe, an ax-throwing venue in Tribecca around 1:50 a.m. Thanksgiving, according to the NYPD.

His 19-year-old brother was stabbed in the torso. Both were taken to Bellevue Hospital where Rocco was pronounced dead.

Gianluca Bordone, 19, of Oyster Bay on Long Island, was charged Friday with manslaughter and assault.

At Bordone's arraignment Saturday, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eun Bi Kim said the Rodden brothers had attended a private party at Live Axe and were still gathered outside with the alcohol left over from the event, according to the New York Post's coverage of the hearing.

What led to the stabbing?

Bordone approached the group and stabbed them before running off and trying to talk his way onto a passing party bus, according to Kim. He eventually took a cab and met up with friends. He was later found by police wearing a bloody vest. He is being held on $4 million bail.

Bordone's attorney painted a different picture of events and suggested his client acted in self-defense after he was "pummeled repeatedly" by the group, according to the Post. Surveillance video captured the entire incident

"It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we share the heartbreaking news of the passing of one of our own, Rocco Rodden," the school wrote on its Facebook page. "Rocco, a junior at SJR, left us in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning."

Rocco Rodden
Rocco Rodden (Higgins Home for Funerals)

A school mourns

A letter to parents from the school obtained by the Daily Voice said Monday will begin with an assembly and prayer service. The school has also offered counseling for students and staff.

"Our family is so broken over this tragic loss, life will never be the same without you Rocco. You were the light in a dark room, with huge personality and the best one-liners. I will cherish all of the memories. Everyone who met you loved you so much. You left us way too soon. We love you forever Roc," his parents wrote on their Facebook page.

Saint Joseph's was founded in 1962  and is operated by the Newark Diocese. The school has an enrollment of 458 in grades 9-12 as of the 2021-22 school year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Rocco's funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. and a visitation Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. Both will take place at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 250 Bebout Ave., Stirling.

LOOK: Popular NJ state park campground to close in 2024

A look at all of New Jersey's state park campgrounds, plus one that will not reopen in 2024.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

Security block used by NJ delivery worker you need to know about

Very concerning, especially during the holidays.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

Top 30 school districts in NJ spending the most per pupil

These are the most expensive school districts in the state of New Jersey. Based on 2022-23 school year budget and enrollment figures, these are the districts spending the most per student. We only included districts with at least the state average enrollment of about 2,000 students.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM