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Hero teen who saved girlfriend honored at California vigil

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Updated: 3/24 11:37 am
By Claire Doan
NBC News

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil Sunday night in Marysville to mourn the death of Mateus Moore, a teen being hailed as a hero for the split-second action that saved his girlfriend's life.

Moore and his girlfriend, Mickayla Friend, were walking to a school dance Saturday evening when they were struck by a train.

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People taking in a baseball game near the tracks watched helplessly as the train approached the teens.

"The engineer was on the horn," said Sean Stark, who saw the incident happen. "Then finally, they both looked back at the same time."

Stark said the teenage boy made a split second decision.

"They would have both been underneath that train if he didn't push her out of the way at the last second," said Stark.

"I am so grateful that she is here, but my heart is so heavy because Mateus was amazing," Sandy Friend, Mickayla's mother, said at the vigil. "Everything I would want my daughter to have for her life, an amazing man to love her and take care of her."

Moore's father says Mateus would've saved his girlfriend again, in a heartbeat, in a prayer he offered at the service.

"That's my new daughter," Marcus Moore said of Mickayla. "I don't have a son, but I have a daughter, and I just want to praise you for the opportunity to know there is a child out there that is alive that my son was able to save."
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