PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia police say they are closing in on the people responsible for killing a 14-year-old student-athlete and wounding four others outside of Roxborough High School after a football scrimmage last week.
The Police Department on Tuesday identified 16-year-old Dayron Burney-Thorn as a suspect and said investigators are working to identify seven persons of interest, most of whom are teenagers or young adults.
“I find it beyond unnerving to find that our children continue to be caught up in serious crimes,” said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
Capt. Jason Smith with the police Homicide Unit said that they are trying to narrow down those eight people into their six suspects.
Police haven’t said whether Burney-Thorn was one of the shooters, but he is wanted on active arrest warrants for murder, several counts of attempted murder, firearms offenses, theft, obstruction of justice and related charges.
“Do the right thing and turn yourself in," Outlaw said. "We know who you are, and you’re just delaying the inevitable.”
Police say there were two cars involved in the shooting. One is the Ford Explorer, which police say was stolen, found last week in Southwest Philadelphia. The other is a Gray Chevrolet Impala, found Monday.
Police say the Explorer was parked at the corner of Pechin and Gates streets for about six minutes last Tuesday before five gunmen jumped out and opened fire on a group of football players as they left a scrimmage at the high school. Nicolas Elizalde, 14, was killed and four other teens were wounded.
Police urge anyone who knows who was involved in the attack to contact them immediately. Submit a tip via phone or text at 215-686-8477. Or use this electronic form to submit a tip anonymously. All tips will be confidential.
The City of Philadelphia is offering a reward of $40,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Burney-Thorn is 6' 3" and 215 pounds. Police say he is considered armed and dangerous. Do not approach him; instead, call 911.
The crime has rocked the city, said Outlaw in a tweet on Tuesday.
"Last week's shooting of children outside of Roxborough High has devastated not only the victims and their families, but our entire city. While I am pleased that a suspect has been identified, there is still much more work to do," she said.
Superintendent Tony Watlington spoke about the case at an unrelated news conference Tuesday.
“Many of our children have spoken very clearly that they’re not doing well. Some are afraid to go out in the neighborhoods and play. Some are afraid on their way to and from school,” Watlington said.
“The physical, mental and emotional well-being of our students is our No. 1 top priority. And we will continue to support students and staff as we deal with the crippling violence in the city.”
Outlaw tweeted a message of thanks to investigators — and a warning to the people under investigation:
"I want to thank the women and men of the Homicide Unit, who along with the ATF, continue to work tirelessly to bring the suspects to justice. To those responsible: We know who you are, we will find you, and we will take you into custody."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Philadelphia Police Department had previously misspelled the name of 16-year-old suspect Dayron Burney-Thorn.