Hundreds of classmates gathered Wednesday evening to honor Liam Armstrong, the 18-year-old Long Island high school student killed by a train as he tried to cross the tracks at an Upper West Side subway station.
Holding lighted candlesticks, students stood on the lacrosse field at Smithtown East High School, where Armstrong was a well-liked student and athlete. Police kept the campus closed off to the public, but the young attendees could be seen crying, hugging one another, and even smiling and giggling as they remembered their friend and classmate.
"He was a good kid," Mike Zanfardino, a senior at the high school, told NBC 4 New York earlier in the day. "He was always the nicest kid, he was the funniest kid."
On a webpage set up to share memories of Armstrong, his eighth-grade science teacher, Richard Specht, wrote, "He left a mark on the people he came across. Even in 8th grade, it was easy to see his charisma and charm... I feel so much sadness in the knowledge that this world has lost a truly good man, and a family has been devastated by his loss."
Armstrong was at the West 79th Street station with friends on Tuesday, his 18th birthday, attempting to take the subway back to Penn Station, a law enforcement official said. They apparently realized they were on the wrong platform and started to cross the train tracks to get to the opposite side.
As the teens were crossing, a northbound 2 train was coming into the station, according to the law enforcement official. The motorman saw them crossing and tried to stop the train, but not before it clipped Armstrong, killing him.
Smithtown Schools Superintendent Anthony Annunziato posted a note on the district's website Wednesday mourning the loss of Armstrong, who he described as "a vibrant young man who will be missed by all who knew him."