NBC 4 New York
Classmates of Liam Armstrong at Smithtown High School East on Long Island were in shock after learning of the death of the 18-year-old at a subway station on the Upper West Side. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
A Long Island teenager trying to cross the subway tracks with two friends on his 18th birthday was struck and killed by a train at an Upper West Side station Tuesday, a law enforcement official said.
The teen, identified as Liam Armstrong, was at the West 79th Street station with friends, attempting to take the subway back to Penn Station, the official told NBC 4 New York.
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.
Passengers said the train jerked as it came to a stop, and "people were jolted," according to one woman who did not give her name.
One of the friends made it across and a third friend had not started over yet.
Donald Lumpkin of Harlem, who was also on the train, said the passengers were kept inside as police investigated, and they could see the disturbing scene underneath.
Police and firefighters "had their flashlights under the train tracks," he said. "That's when I realized someone got killed."
"When we were walking out, I saw under the train -- it's not good. It's not good," said another man.
The victim's father is a police lieutenant on Long Island, the law enforcement official said.
Armstrong attended Smithtown High School East, where he played lacrosse and was well-liked, according to classmates. He had been planning to join the Marines after he graduated.
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."
"He was a good kid," said Mike Zanfardino, a senior at the high school. "He was always the nicest kid, he was always the funniest kid we all knew."