Philly police recover SUV believed to be used in deadly shooting outside Roxborough High School

The shooting happened after a football scrimmage between three schools, according to Philadelphia police.

Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Philly police find SUV believed to be used in deadly ambush shooting

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia police believe they have found the vehicle used in a deadly ambush shooting near Roxborough High School on Tuesday afternoon.

Chopper 6 was overhead Wednesday night as the ATF and Philadelphia police surrounded an SUV in a parking lot along Passyunk Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. The vehicle was towed from the parking lot in the overnight hours.

Police sources tell 6abc they think the vehicle was used by the five gunmen who killed a 14-year-old football player and injured four others. The search continues for the suspects involved.

The shooting happened around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on the 4700 block of Pechin Street just as a junior varsity football scrimmage ended between three schools: Roxborough High School, Northeast High School and Boys Latin Charter School.

The victim who died has been identified as Nicholas Elizalde of Havertown, Delaware County.

In the new video released by police, five gunmen are seen exiting a light-colored SUV and shooting at the victims.

"As the victims are walking by on the opposite side of the road on the way to locker room, five individuals exit the SUV and immediately open fire," said Capt. Jason Smith.

Authorities said four of the shooters returned to the vehicle, but the fifth continued to pursue one of the victims down Pechin Street.

The 17-year-old victim was ultimately shot, and while lying on the sidewalk, the shooter continued pulling the trigger, but the gun didn't fire.

"The only thing that stopped this individual from firing is that he apparently had run out of bullets in his slide and it locked," said Smith.

Police said there may be a sixth suspect who was driving the SUV. Police said a total of 64 bullets were fired.

Police say Elizalde was shot in the chest. He was taken to Einstein Medical Center where he died from his injuries.

Three victims remain in stable condition at area hospitals: a 17-year-old male shot in the right arm and leg; a 14-year-old male shot in the left thigh; and a 15-year-old male struck in the left leg.

A fifth victim, a 14-year-old male, suffered a graze wound to the right ankle and was treated at the scene.

Police say four of the five victims played football for Roxborough High School.

Police believe the 17-year-old was not a student at Roxborough and was not a member of the football team.

Elizalde was a student at nearby Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences. While the school doesn't have a football team, students are allowed to co-op and play with Roxborough High.

Alex Torres' younger brother is one of the teens listed in stable condition. Torres said he learned about the shooting from his stepmom.

"I was at work and got a call from my stepmom saying my little brother got shot. I rushed down here as fast as I can," he recalled. "My little brother is 14, and just hearing him getting shot is the worst feeling in the world."

A $45,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.

Panic during the gunfire

Bud Rigner's ninth-grade son was in the middle of the gunfire as the shots rang out Tuesday.

"He's up there in his room crying in a hysterical panic because he was right in the middle of all of this," said Rigner.

Chase Gallagher was sitting in an adjacent park when he heard the gunshots.

"I ran down the hill a little bit, but then I didn't see nothing so I was just chilling," said Gallagher.

Police say the suspects fled on foot after the shooting.

Investigators have not released a possible motive.

School Statement

Some of the teens that were participating in the football scrimmage are students at Boys Latin Charter School.

The school in West Philadelphia says it is devastated by the incident.

Boys Latin has tragically been deeply impacted by gun violence in recent years.

Since 2016, six Boys Latin students have been killed in shooting incidents.

The statement read:

"Boys' Latin of Philadelphia is devastated by the gun violence plaguing our school and broader communities. Today, the Boys' Latin High School Football Team scrimmaged Roxborough High School, following which another senseless shooting occurred. Our school is holding the victims of today's shooting in our thoughts. We mourn for and stand with these students, their families and coaches, and the entire Roxborough High School community. While no members of the Boys' Latin school community were physically hurt, the emotional toll of this tragedy will be long-lasting.

We mourn the loss of life and the loss of the ability to feel safe and secure in our city. Far too many Boys' Latin students have been robbed of this basic right. Their teammates, friends, families, teachers, and neighbors have as well. The school urges the city to take action. Boys' Latin students and their peers across Philadelphia deserve safe, healthy communities in which they can play, learn, and fulfill their potential."

City officials speak out

School officials expressed outrage regarding the violence at a school known throughout the community as a safe place. Officials discussed the possibility of beefing up police patrols at scrimmages and practices.

"Certainly unacceptable gun violence like this does not help anything. So we're always asking ourselves how are the children and frankly, many of our children are not well," said Superintendent Tony Watlington.

The deadly shooting happened just a day after Philadelphia reached its 400th murder of the year.

According to city data, 174 children were shot so far this year as of Monday; 23 killed. This data was gathered before the Roxborough shooting.

For the same time last year, 157 children had been shot; 27 killed.

"We keep having these same conversations day in and day out. I don't know who is missing the conversation, but we just have to keep doing as much as we possibly can," said Deputy Commissioner John Stanford on the city's gun violence.

SEE ALSO: Surging gun violence: Philadelphia reaches 400 homicides for the year

District Attorney Larry Krasner was at the shooting scene Tuesday and was asked if aggressive prosecution of people who carry guns is the solution.

"The sentences for possession of guns are longer in Philadelphia than any other category of cities. Longer sentences are happening here, longer than the rest of the state, but it did not stop this. We have to work not only on modern enforcement, but we have to work every way we can on prevention so this is not happening again," said Krasner.

This deadly shooting unfolded not long after Mayor Jim Kenney issued an executive order banning firearms from recreational areas and facilities.

"There are no words for what transpired earlier tonight. Another young life has been cut short and others injured by needless violence. Tonight, a family will begin to grapple with the loss of their loved one. My deepest condolences go out to them. I'll say it again: schools, rec centers, and public spaces must be safe places," said Kenney in a series of tweets.

Eagles React

The news of high school football players shot in Philadelphia reached NFL players.

Eagles Wide Receiver AJ Brown tweeted, "This breaks my heart. My heart goes out to the kids involved and to the one that lost his life. We have to do better. We have to protect our children man."

Offensive tackle Lane Johnson said, "It must stop! Praying for these kids, their families, & their teammates. Sports are supposed to be a safe haven."