19-year-old arrested for stabbing, killing New Jersey football player on Thanksgiving

Those close to the victim said he was a rising star with infinite possibilities.

Anthony Johnson Image
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Father speaks out after son fatally stabbed outside club in NYC
Anthony Johnson has more on the investigation.

MONTVALE, New Jersey -- A 19-year-old was arrested after a 17-year-old New Jersey student was stabbed and killed Thanksgiving morning outside a club in New York City.

Rocco Rodden, 17, was a football player at St. Joseph's Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey.

Those close to him said 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," said Rocco's father, Douglas Rodden.

The incident took place in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving and stunned Rocco's close-knit family.

"The family is broken, inside and out," Douglas Rodden said.

Officials say Rocco was out with his brother and sister at a club in Lower Manhattan when witnesses say there were multiple fights involving teens.

Rocco was stabbed in the torso, while his brother was stabbed and now has 50 stitches. Rocco died a few hours later, but his death 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 in this incident, who was 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 about his son.

Rocco 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.