Last Updated on September 29, 2022
Philadelphia Police are searching for multiple gunmen who ambushed a group of Roxborough High School football players after a scrimmage. Nicholas Elizalde, 14, was killed in the attack while several others were injured.
Captain Jason Smith announced at a press conference that four of the five victims, including Elizalde, were members of the Roxborough football team.
Authorities later released surveillance footage of the ambush, which shows five suspects exiting a vehicle described as a “light SUV” before firing more than 60 shots at the targeted teens as they walked down the street following a scrimmage.
“There were strike marks all over the place – sides of buildings, vehicles,” Captain Smith said. “We do believe that one or two of the individuals within that group were specifically targeted.”
According to police, one of the gunmen stood over a victim and continued to fire his weapon, but he was out of bullets. “The shooter runs up to the victim as he lay helpless on the ground, stands over top of him and continues firing,” Captain Smith said. “The only thing that stopped this individual from firing is that he, apparently, had run out of bullets and his slide had locked to the rear,” Smith said.
Investigators are still attempting to determine a motive, but they are fairly certain that the shooting was targeted. It is unknown whether Elizalde or one of the other teens was the primary target.
The “light-colored SUV” driven by the victims was recovered on Thursday, according to a report from Fox 29. Police have yet to report any arrests as of Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE: @phillypolice find & impound suv they strongly believe was vehicle used by 5 killers who fired guns killing 14yr old football player & wounding 4 other teens at Roxborough High School Tuesday. It was towed 2am from Purple Orchid lot on Passyunk Ave @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/6T3Z7fYdGm
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) September 29, 2022
The City of Philadelphia is offering a $45,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Relatives of the victim remembered Nicholas Elizalde as a “special kid.”
He attended Saul High School but played football for Roxborough, as Saul does not have a football team. Police say he lived in Havertown and was a Haverford Township School District student from kindergarten to 8th grade before transferring.
“Our hearts go out to Nicholas’s family and all who knew him,” Haverford School District Superintendent Maureen Reusche said in a statement.
“Teachers are having a really rough day along with their students, kids are crying, teachers are trying console them while also wiping their own tears away,” PFT union rep. LeShawna Coleman said.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner used the press conference to attack the GOP and stump for stricter gun laws.
“It wasn’t that long ago, it was May, after the Uvalde shooting in Texas, another school shooting, when Governor Wolf was there and I was there, as well. And, he was asking for reporting for lost and stolen guns in 72 hours. To close loopholes and require background checks on gun sales. To require safe storage of firearms, to keep guns out of the wrong hands. To have red flag laws,” Krasner said.
“And, what we have from this legislature is absolutely nothing. And, that is what Governor Wolf has had to deal with his entire time in office. What we have from this legislature, and I am speaking of one party, what we have from them is the talking points of the NRA and kids getting shot outside of schools. And, that is utterly unacceptable.”
Philadelphia on pace for its second straight year with more than 500 homicides, the highest murder rate among America’s largest cities. Krasner’s office has withdrawn 49% of gun possession charges in 2022, compared to 27% under his predecessor in 2016.