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'He saved their lives': Austin mourns teen who died protecting family

Julio Cesar Guadalupe Rodriguez was killed in a domestic dispute.

A Minnesota teen is being recognized for the heroic actions that ultimately cost him his life during a domestic dispute.

Austin resident Julio Cesar Guadalupe Rodriguez, 15, died on Tuesday after what local police chief David McKichan calls "one of the most challenging and tragic calls" in the city's history.

Rodriguez was stabbed to death while intervening in an attack on his 35-year-old mother, who was also seriously wounded in the incident, according to a Star Tribune report

The defendant in the case, 27-year-old Jaime A. Vaca, is the husband of the boy's mother; he was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault this past week in Mower County District Court. 

In a public Facebook message about the incident, Chief McKichan said that there were five other children in the home when the stabbing took place:

McKichan also praised the fallen teen for his sacrifice, noting the toll it took on all the first responders to see him succumb to his injuries:

Despite everyone’s best efforts we were unable to save the young man who acted the most heroically of anyone yesterday. All of us wanted a different outcome for him. What he did in the defense of his family was incredible and should be recognized. His love for his mother and his siblings was proven without a doubt and all who responded and have knowledge of the investigation were moved by his actions. He saved their lives. 

"I hope in time and with the family involved," McKichan added, "that we can recognize him for what he did." 

Relatives have set up a Facebook fundraiser to help the family cover funeral expenses; you can view it right here. It has already exceeded its fundraising goal of $8,000.

A public visitation for Rodriguez will be held Monday, while his funeral will be private.

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