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Vigil Held On Ithaca Campus For Student Slain In Cornell University Brawl

ITHACA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The campus community gathered for a vigil Monday as police investigate a brawl at Cornell University that left an Ithaca College student from Brooklyn dead and another Ithaca student injured.

The slain student, identified as 19-year-old as Anthony Nazaire, was on the campus of nearby Cornell when police said a fight broke out after a student organized event just before 2 a.m. Sunday.

The victim's sister, Kiara Nazaire, said the fight happened when her brother's friend bumped into a woman. They both apologized, but she said the girls grew hostile and came back with other guys who followed Nazaire and his friend.

"They seen that it was a situation that was gonna escalate to more than it was supposed to be," she said. "They walked away and these cowards followed them and hit his friend. Anthony tried to help his friend up, Anthony hit the floor."

Police said Nazaire, a sophomore majoring in business administration, was stabbed during the melee. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Kiara Nazaire said her brother's last words to her in a phone conversation were, "I love you," WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported.

Kiara was overwhelmed by grief as she lit candles for her brother outside of the Flatbush home.

"Nobody's breathing without Anthony. Anthony was like air for us," she told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.

A second unidentified Ithaca College student was also stabbed. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.

News of the teen's death rocked the normally quiet Cornell community.

"This is a campus we all see as a safe place," Cornell student Alex Maisel said. "For this to happen where we all go to class, where we all live, it's a shock and it's a tragedy for sure."

Early Monday morning, Nazaire's sister was overcome with tears, lighting the candles outside the Flatbush building where her younger brother grew up.

"He did it. He graduated at 17, honor rolls," she said. "Everybody rooted for him. He had choices where he could go to school."

Nazaire's godfather, Jacques Dorsainvil, was overcome with emotion talking about the student.

"I really don't know what to say," he said. "How that happen?"

Family members say Nazaire was known for his sense of humor.

"This kid was friendly from everybody. He make you laugh," Dorsainvil said. "I don't know how we are gonna deal with this."

Nazaire's nephew, 8-year-old Caleb, misses his uncle.

"Cause he's the best person in the universe and he always helped me with my homework," he said.

He was also adored by so many in his community.

"Very humble, very nice  guy," his friend, Alex Jospeh, told CBS2's Janelle Burrell.

"I don't understand how someone can take someone's life away like that," his sister said.

Both schools posted statements on their websites on Sunday.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of our community; as such, this incident is deeply disturbing,'' said Ryan Lombardi, the vice president for student and campus life at Cornell.

"My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Anthony Nazaire, the student who was killed," said Ithaca College President Tom Rochon. "He graduated from Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School, and at IC he was a member of the executive board of Brothers4Brothers, a student organization dedicated to empowering men of color on our campus."

Police did not identify any suspects in the stabbing. They said they were interviewing witnesses, and urged anyone with video of the incident to come forward.

Nazaire's family said all they want now is to put the killer behind bars.

"I believe someone knows something, and they don't want to talk, and if they don't want to talk it's going to haunt them," Kiara said.

Meanwhile, both schools said that counseling would be available to students, faculty and staff.

Rochon said a campus-wide gathering is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. at the school's chapel.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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